I received yet another alert Wednesday night from a key person about what is planned as far as Nolan Richardson's buyout. That's all I'll confirm about this call, except to say this person is trying to keep it from happening, and thinks Nolan has a shot at remaining as the Arkansas basketball coach. This source said the administration has everything set to pull the trigger, and I hate that.
However, this source said Nolan can avoid it with more comments similar to those issued after the game in Starkville. Hopefully, Nolan's apologies from Wednesday are a good start to avoiding his removal. I am aware that apologies were planned for tonight by Nolan, and he did a great job with that. It was needed and he knew it.
Nolan stepped to the plate in a big-time way. I think Nolan was sincere with the apologies and they were from his heart, according to those who were there and from those who know him. I hope it is enough. He is the school's greatest basketball coach and has signed excellent new recruits for next season. Those that are after him are strong, powerful and armed with plenty of money. Boosters, advertisers and sponsors have responded in a way that put incredible pressure on the administration to move in the direction of the buyout.
But, the UA administration is now equipped to fight them off, now that Richardson has apologized, and clarified his remarks from Monday. For his sake, I hope there are those that are with Nolan that have the same clout. I am told that there are key people around the state with Nolan, and against forcing Nolan out with a buyout, and that they are starting to step forward.
This might be a great sign for Nolan, and the first really good indication that I've seen in the last 48 hours that he can continue as coach. There were some that were convinced that he did not want to coach the Hogs anymore, and he is now showing them that he does want to coach at the UofA.
Many boosters and key supporters have talked about the cloud that fell over the state and the program because of the Monday comments, but I think a buyout of Nolan's contract would double that cloud and the fallout would be more severe for years and years into the future. Those that are after Nolan still think it's a done deal ... that he will take the buyout. I'm not so sure and I now think it can be averted, and Nolan made a good start with his comments Wednesday night. (Dudley Dawson has those comments on our front page in the Latest News category.)
Some have questioned my motives for publishing the first story on this issue. Let's just say, I will do what's right. No one should be blindsided. They should know when someone is coming after them, and so should the state, boosters and fans. I think Nolan knew some of it before Wednesday night, and I think he knows for sure now. And, some around the state that support Nolan, now know, too.
We are talking about the most successful basketball coach in the history of the school, and a plan to buyout his contract. I do not apologize for publishing this story on our website. I just don't. Perhaps the timing could have been different. But what is happening is real, and ongoing and needed to be brought to light.