Nolan Richardson Inducted Into NJCAA Hall Of Fame

Thursday, 08 June 2023 15:36

Nolan Richardson Inducted Into NJCAA Hall Of Fame

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Nolan Richardson Inducted Into NJCAA Hall Of Fame Razorbacks Communications

FAYETTEVILLE – Nolan Richardson will add a third Hall of Fame honor to his illustrious resume as he will be inducted into the third annual National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Foundation Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be Thursday (June 8) in Charlotte, N.C.

Designed to tell the story of the NJCAA, the NJCAA Hall of Fame seeks to honor individuals who have paved the way for opportunities at the two-year level – athletically and professionally, and those who have been pioneers throughout the history of the association. Inductees to the Hall of Fame include administrators, coaches, student-athletes, and meritorious contributors and influencers.

Joining Richardson in the Class of 2023 are Brittany Reese (three-time track and field Olympic team member), Kirby Puckett (MLB Hall of Famer), Leonard Hamilton (current head men’s basketball coach at Florida State) and Bruce Arena (all-time winningest Major League Soccer head coach).

Richardson is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Basketball Hall of Fame, being inducted as part of the 2008 and 2014 classes, respectively. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Richardson played basketball collegiately at NJCAA member Eastern Arizona Junior College for one season before transferring to Texas Western College. After Western, he retired from playing and decided to leave his mark through coaching.

Richardson began his coaching career in 1968 at Bowie High School in El Paso. He coached there for 10 years before returning to the two-year college level at Western Texas Junior College in 1977. At Western Texas, he posted a record of 101-13 in three seasons.  In his third and final season, Richardson led the Westerners to the 1980 NJCAA Men’s Basketball Championship with a 37-0 record.  Western Texas became just the third team to finish the season with an undefeated record in the history of NJCAA basketball.

Moving on to the University of Tulsa in 1981, Richardson became the first African American coach to win the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) championship. Staying at Tulsa for five years, Richardson is credited with bringing the Tulsa program to national prominence, and with a winning percentage of .763, became the first coach in NCAA history to win 50 games in his first two seasons.

Leaving Tulsa and moving on to the University of Arkansas, Richardson led the team to 15 post-season appearances in 17 seasons. Finding great success at Arkansas, he led the Razorbacks to three Final Fours and, in 1994, the Hogs won the National Championship. Richardson’s career garnered numerous accolades including NABC Coach of the Year, Naismith College Coach of the Year, two-time MVC Coach of the Year, three-time SWC Coach of the Year, SEC Coach of the Year, and the USBWA Most Courageous Award.

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