The reception is part of the John Thompson Foundation Challenge Classic hosted by Arkansas.Haskins coached the Miners for 38 years, going 719-353 with one national title (1966), 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and seven Western Athletic Conference championships.Haskins took over the UTEP program for the 1961-62 season and was 18-6 his first season. His second team went 19-7 and made the first of Haskins’ 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, dropping a 65-49 decision to Texas in the first round of the tournament.The Miners captured the NCAA title on March 19, 1966, shocking heavily-favored Kentucky, 72-65, for the championship. That year, Haskins, who is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Jim Thorpe Association Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, became the first coach ever to start a lineup of five African-American players at the major college level.“This is a very special honor,” Richardson says. “A lot of minorities will benefit through this tournament and the foundation. Between John Chaney, John Thompson, George Raveling and myself, we couldn’t think of anyone that deserves this recognition more than Coach Haskins. He opened the door for African-American players to play basketball. For that, he is highly praised. “It’s also special for me because he was my coach. In our first game of the tournament, I will have three generations of my family on the floor at the same time, and my coach will be there to see it.” Richardson graduated from UTEP in 1963.
The 15th-ranked Razorbacks meet Tennessee State in Friday’s second game at 8:15 p.m. TSU’s first-year head coach is Nolan Richardson III, an assistant at UA from 1991-2000. A freshman point guard for the Tigers is Garrett Richardson, the grandson of Arkansas’ head coach. The first game of the tournament matches Southern Mississippi against Louisiana Tech at 6 p.m. The two losers meet in Saturday’s 6 p.m. consolation game followed by the championship game at 8:15.
All four games will be televised live on College Sports Southeast.