Already a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, former Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson will join another family of basketball royalty as he was named one of 10 members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the Class of 2014, announced on Monday at the Final Four in North Texas.
The 2014 Class will be honored August 7-9 in Springfield, Mass., during the Enshrinement Ceremonies. To be elected, finalists required 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Joining Richardson in the 2014 Class is Immaculata University’s AIAW National Championship teams of the early 1970s, seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning, six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond and NCAA National Championship coach Gary Williams. They join the five directly elected members who were announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February by distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game of basketball. They include Bob Leonard voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Nat Clifton from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Sarunas Marciulionis from the International Committee, Guy Rodgers from the Veterans Committee and David Stern from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
On Sunday night, Richardson was honored by the NCAA with a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Arkansas’ 1994 National Championship. The event was held at the African American Museum at Fair Park, which is also the home to the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame. A native of El Paso, Texas, Coach Richardson was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
The only coach to win a Division I National Championship (Arkansas), an NIT Championship (Tulsa) and a Junior College National Championship (Western Texas), Richardson compiled a 390-170 record over his 17 seasons at Arkansas. Over those 17 seasons, the Razorbacks advanced to the NCAA Tournament 13 times, highlighted by six Sweet Sixteen appearances, four Elite Eights and three Final Fours.
In his fifth season with the Razorbacks (1989-90), Richardson guided the program to its first Final Four since 1978, and jump-started a six-year run in which Arkansas made three Final Four appearances. The second Final Four came in 1994, as the Razorbacks defeated Duke, 76-72, to win their first-ever National Championship while Richardson was named the Naismith and NABC National Coach of the Year. A year later, Arkansas returned to the National Championship game, ending the six-year run with a 165-33 record.
Richardson is one of just five head coaches to win 365 games in 15 seasons or less, ending his 22 seasons at the Division I level with a 508-206 mark. Over those 22 seasons, Richardson had 20 winning seasons, 16 with 20 or more wins and four with 30 wins. Over the aforementioned six-year span, Richardson and the Razorbacks won 30 games four times, while the feat has been accomplished just once in the program’s other 85 seasons.
Richardson played collegiately at Texas Western College, now UTEP, playing his junior and senior years from coach Don Haskins who was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame in 1997.