Nolan's Comments After No. 500

Here are some comments from Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson after the Hogs' victory over North Carolina-Greensboro. Some of the quotes are from the hand-out sheet, others are quotes that didn't make the school's handout sheet. Both sets are interesting.

It was typical Nolan Richardson after his 500th victory, an 89-74 Arkansas victory over North Carolina-Greensboro at Bud Walton Arena. Here's what made the quote sheet, and then I'll give you some quotes that didn't make the sheet.

First, the quote sheet stuff:

"I didn't realize how big a milestone it was until today," Nolan said, "when Coach Haskins called me. He said, 'You will have 500 wins hopefully after tonight.' So I won 500. The big deal is being able to coach so long. If things were right, I could have reached 500 two years ago, but they investigated my program. Our ship was low, but we didn't sink.

"The coach from St. John's had 326 and was already in the Hall of Fame. I have the greatest thing to ever happen to me ... to have a school named after me.

"All those 500 victories were honest victories. Right now, I'm having the most fun of my life. We lose, and I'm trying to find a way to win. Whatever happens the rest of this season, we're going to keep working."

Now, here's the stuff that they didn't put on the quote sheet, and he said it in the same session:

"I probably won't make the Hall of Fame. I don't buddy up, and I'm not politically correct. I just try to be a man, and sometimes that makes me say things that aren't politically the right things. I don't sit on committees. But, that's okay (if I don't make the Hall). I don't have control over that and I don't worry about things I don't control. I don't have control over what happened at Illinois. That was out of my control.

"What I do know about (500) is that I did it coaching in the south all of my life. Winning 500 to me is like winning 1,000 because of where I did it. I know I better be good. I know that. I didn't have a level playing field. I know that, too. I told my wife every time I go home it's like winning two. I go home and say, 'There's two more.'

"My style is different. I know that. You've got the Bob Stephens of the writers calling it hully gully. If Rick Pitino plays the same way, it's up-tempo. I'm just having fun, though. The first part of my coaching career, I was mad. I'm not that way now, just having fun coaching.

"I know what's on the way. We are okay this year, but we've got a great recruiting class coming. We've got J. J. Sullinger and he's pretty good, but the ones on the way are better than J. J. The ones that are coming, they understand what I've been through to get here. The parents understand. They want their kids to play for me. That means something. We are getting players again.

"It may be hully gully to some, but the kids understand what we are trying to do. If you look around, a lot of people are playing this way. One day, when it's all over, I think everyone will know who started it. In Arkansas, this is the way everyone is playing ... high school, AAU. They play this way.

"When I came here, I heard it called worse than hully gully. It was called nigger ball. I can't tell you how many times I heard that said on my recorder at home. I heard it on my recorder until I was sick."

And, on the game, Nolan was extremely pleased for the effort from the players, only two days after losing a heartbreaker at Chicago to Illinois.

"I didn't tell the players this, but I told Mike (Anderson)," Nolan said. "Before the game, I told Mike that if we played decent, I'd be happy. They gave every ouce of sweat they had in the Illinois game. We came home, worked so hard on Sunday. I worked them hard so they wouldn't be able to think about the day before. And, I was just hoping to get by this team. We weren't playing any team. This team wasn't chopped liver. They could play, and they could really shoot the ball. We played pretty hard tonight and pretty well. I'm just as proud of the way they played tonight as I was with the way they played two days ago against Illinois. This was a tough game."


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