FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- Nolan Richardson, the all-time victories leader in Arkansas basketball history, has been elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced over the weekend.
The 2008 class will be honored Nov. 23 in Kansas City.
Richardson was the head coach at Arkansas from 1986-2002 and at Tulsa from 1981-85.
In 22 years overall as an NCAA head coach, he was 508-206 for a winning percentage of .711. In 17 years at Arkansas, he was 389-169 (.697).
The only coach to win a national junior college title, a post-season NIT championship and the NCAA title, Richardson’s teams went to the Final Four three times, earned NCAA Tournament bids 17 times and recorded 20 or more victories 16 times.
On the way to reaching the 500-win mark, which he did on Dec. 10, 2001, with the 89-74 win over North Carolina-Greensboro in Fayetteville, Richardson made Arkansas a regular in post-season play with 15 consecutive national tournament appearances. Thirteen of those appearances were in the NCAA Tournament while the other two were in the National Invitation Tournament.
Richardson coached Arkansas to three Final Fours, the 1994 national championship, the 1995 runner-up spot, six trips to the Sweet 16 and four trips to the Elite Eight. Under Richardson, UA was 26-12 (.684) in NCAA Tournament play.
In 2001, he became just the 17th coach in SEC history to record 100 regular-season conference victories. In 11 years in the SEC, Richardson was 108-66 (.621).
Richardson had a successful track record in athletics long before he moved to Arkansas.
Following a standout prep career at Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas, he began his collegiate athletic career at Eastern Arizona Junior College, where he earned all-conference honors as a freshman. He transferred to Texas-El Paso and led the Miners in scoring with 21 points per game, but once Hall-of-Famer Don Haskins became head coach, his scoring dropped and his defense picked up. Although his shots were limited under Haskins, he still started all three years at UTEP.
The defense he learned from his coach, plus what he saw from others he liked, such as John Wooden at UCLA, led to his coaching style and philosophy.
Following stints in the American Football League, where he played one year as a defensive back for the San Diego Chargers, and American Basketball Association, where he played a year with the Dallas Chaparrals, he began his coaching career at Bowie.
He had a 10-year record of 190-80 (.704) and was named coach of the year three times. His high school teams won two district titles and two city championships, and his 1975 team finished second in the state regional tournament. He moved to Western Texas Junior College next and compiled a remarkable three-year record of 101-14 (.878). His final team went 37-0 and won the junior college national championship.
His next stop was Tulsa where he posted a five-year record of 119-37 (.763). He led the Golden Hurricane to three NCAA tournaments and two post-season NITs, including an NIT championship in his first campaign.
A 1963 graduate of UTEP, Richardson has been inducted into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor (1996), the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (1998), the Texas Black Hall of Fame (2008) and the El Paso Hall of Fame (1974), and was named the Outstanding Alumnus of Bowie High School (1980).
In 1995, at the Final Four, he was presented the prestigious Courage Award by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), which is the highest honor the group gives. Included was a video chronicling his career, which included a segment on his daughter, Yvonne, who he lost to leukemia in January 1987.
In his hometown of El Paso, Texas, Nolan Richardson Middle School, the Nolan Richardson Community Center and the Yvonne Richardson Daycare Center stand as proof of his unwavering support of education and youth development in the area.
Year School Record
1981 Tulsa 26-7!
1982 *Tulsa 24-6
1983 Tulsa 19-12
1984 *Tulsa 27-4
1985 *Tulsa 23-8
1986 Arkansas 12-16
1987 *Arkansas 19-14
1988 *Arkansas 21-9
1989 *Arkansas 25-7
1990 *Arkansas 30-5%
1991 *Arkansas 34-4
1992 *Arkansas 26-8
1993 *Arkansas 22-9
1994 *Arkansas 31-3%#
1995 *Arkansas 32-7%
1996 *Arkansas 20-13
1997 Arkansas 18-14
1998 *Arkansas 24-9
1999 *Arkansas 23-11
2000 *Arkansas 19-15
2001 *Arkansas 20-11
2002 Arkansas 13-14
! won NIT championship
* NCAA Tournament appearances
# won NCAA championship
% NCAA Final Four
Conference Championships (at Arkansas): 1989 Southwest Conference, 1990 Southwest Conference, 1991 Southwest Conference, 1992 Southeastern Conference, 1994 Southeastern Conference; (at Tulsa): 1984 Missouri Valley, 1985 MVC
SEC Western Division Championships: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
Conference Tournament Titles (at Arkansas): 1989 SWC, 1990 SWC, 1991 SWC, 2000 SEC; (at Tulsa): 1982 MVC, 1984 MVC
National Coach of the Year: 1994
Conference Coach of the Year (at Arkansas): 1989 SWC, 1990 SWC, 1991 SWC, 1998 SEC; (at Tulsa): 1981 MVC, 1985 MVC