Richardson returns to Razorbacks' arena Print
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Friday, 12 December 2008 10:57
NCAAB Headline News


 FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -A lot has changed for Nolan Richardson since 2002.
He has a head full of white hair now, and aside from an occasional stint with an international team, he's been pretty much out of coaching since he was fired by Arkansas in a messy end to a tenure full of accomplishment.
The old wounds have faded and Richardson returned to Arkansas on Friday to remember one of his successes, the Razorbacks' 1994 national championship team that will be honored later this season.
``It's been a long time since I've been on this campus. It's been a long time since I've been in this room,'' Richardson said during the news conference in the interview room at Bud Walton Arena. ``But it still remains the same in my heart.''
Richardson was Arkansas' coach for 17 seasons. At their peak, the Razorbacks played a style dubbed ``40 Minutes of Hell'' that was both entertaining and effective.
pay me my money, they can take the job tomorrow.''
He later lost a discrimination lawsuit against the school, but relations have recently thawed. Richardson has been supportive of Stan Heath and John Pelphrey, the two men who have coached Arkansas since he left.
Pelphrey appeared with Richardson and athletic director Jeff Long at Friday's news conference to announce the celebration for the '94 team, which will be honored the weekend of the Razorbacks' March 1 game against Georgia.
Pelphrey played at Kentucky while Richardson was at Arkansas. Pelphrey took over the Razorbacks last year and faces the daunting task of trying to reach the same heights Richardson achieved.
``I'll never forget the first time I walked into the office. I just knew he was going to jump out of one of those corners and start pressing and trapping me somewhere,'' Pelphrey said. ``I'd probably turn it over before I got to the back of the room.''
Since leaving the Razorbacks, Richardson has coached national teams from Panama and Mexico. He was also briefly a candidate for Arkansas State's vacancy earlier this year, but John Brady ended up taking that job.
Meanwhile, Frank Broyles - who was Arkansas' athletic director when Richardson was fired - retired at the end of last year. Long reached out to Richardson shortly after taking over.
know much about the man,'' Long said. ``I found a man that was loved by all in the department and many, many fans, and that really impressed me. I'm expecting them to talk about how tough ... and all those kinds of things. They talked about how they love and respected the man.''
Richardson drew a few laughs Friday when he needled a familiar face from the Arkansas media. He turned more serious when talking about the players on that '94 team, who will enjoy their moment of appreciation now that their coach has reconciled with the school.
``I am honored to be here, and I'm sure that our players will be happy to come back home again and call this their home. We've been gone from home a long time,'' Richardson said. ``Thank you for letting me come back in a building that I enjoyed so much.''
 

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