PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Larry Brown, the NBA Coach of the Year who led the Philadelphia 76ers into the finals this year, will return as coach.

Ed Snider, chairman of the company that owns the Sixers, announced Brown's return Wednesday at a news conference.

``To me there's no finer coach in basketball than Larry Brown,'' Snider said. ``We're very, very fortunate to have him.''

There had been speculation after the Sixers' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals that Brown, 60, would retire. He has four more years remaining on an existing contract.

``I couldn't have a better job,'' Brown said. ``This is the only place I want to coach.''

Brown, who finished his fourth season in Philadelphia, guided the Sixers to the playoffs three straight years after an eight-year absence. He was Coach of the Year three times in four seasons in the ABA.

Last season, Brown led the Sixers to a franchise-best 10-0 start, a franchise-record 13 straight road victories and the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

He recorded his 1,000th professional victory Feb. 16, and coached the East to victory in the All-Star game.

Brown missed three games during an 0-4 road trip in March to be treated for a gastric illness and a hernia. In December, he took a couple days off from practice, saying he needed a break.

Brown has posted winning records in 25 of his 29 seasons as a coach on the professional and collegiate levels and won a national championship while coaching Kansas in 1988.

Last summer, Brown ws br20 dss dst dsh

as an assistant coach on the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the Sydney Olympics. He is the only person to play and coach in the Olympics.