"Last Wednesday or Thursday," Richardson said Monday morning, four (or five) days after learning he'd be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov. 23 in Kansas City, Mo.
The former Arkansas coach won't forget the feeling, though. He hung up the phone and suddenly found his mind racing through the past — from his junior college coaching days in west Texas to his national title at Arkansas.
"Of course, my reaction is that I'm happy, that I'm proud," said Richardson, who still lives in Fayetteville. "At the same time, this isn't about one person. This is about all the coaches I've worked with, all the kids throughout the years.
"Without them, none of this happens."
Jim Phelan, an 830-game winner in 49 seasons as Mount St. Mary's coach, is the other coach to be inducted into the Hall of Fame's 2008 class. The three players to be inducted are ex-Utah guard Arnie Ferrin, former Kansas forward Danny Manning and Auburn great Charles Barkley. Television analysts Dick Vitale and Billy Packer also will be inducted.
Former Arkansas guard Scotty Thurman hadn't yet heard about Richardson's future induction as of Monday. "Caught off guard," Thurman responded with excitement. He raved about Richardson's character but said that probably had little to do with the honor.
"Look at all the wins he had," Thurman said. "Look from 1989 to 1995, from Todd Day and that bunch until I left. That's probably one of the greatest (six-season) records of all time."
The Razorbacks won 175 games and lost only 36 during those six seasons. But, like Richardson said, his place in the Hall of Fame wasn't earned just because of his accomplishments at Arkansas. After leading Texas Western to the 1980 junior college national championship, Richardson went 69-25 in five seasons at Tulsa and led the Golden Hurricane to the 1981 NIT title. Tulsa went to three NCAA Tournaments in Richardson's last four seasons.
His 17-year tenure at Arkansas came next, along with 389 wins, a .697 winning percentage and three Final Fours. When the Hogs won the 1994 national championship, Richardson became the only coach to ever win the Junior College National Championship, the NIT and the NCAA Tournament.
The Hall of Fame makes up one-third of the College Basketball Experience, which is linked to the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City. Richardson said he watched former assistant Mike Anderson coach Missouri this year's Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center. But he didn't make it next door to the College Basketball Experience and the Hall of Fame.
"I guess I have a good excuse to go see it now," Richardson said. "Mike clued me in about the place a year ago, but I didn't have time to go. He told me there's a big picture of me facing the street. It'll be nice to check all that out."
Nolan Richardson's Division I Record
Team Season W-L Finish
Tulsa 80-81 26-7 NIT Champions
Tulsa 81-82 24-6 NCAA First Round
Tulsa 82-83 19-12 NIT Second Round
Tulsa 83-84 27-4 NCAA First Round
Tulsa 84-85 23-8 NCAA First Round
Arkansas 85-86 12-16 No Postseason
Arkansas 86-87 19-14 NIT Second Round
Arkansas 87-88 21-9 NCAA First Round
Arkansas 88-89 25-7 NCAA Second Round
Arkansas 89-90 30-5 NCAA Final Four
Arkansas 90-91 34-4 NCAA Elite Eight
Arkansas 91-92 26-8 NCAA Second Round
Arkansas 92-93 22-9 NCAA Sweet 16
Arkansas 93-94 31-3 NCAA National Champions
Arkansas 94-95 32-7 NCAA Runner-Up
Arkansas 95-96 20-13 NCAA Sweet 16
Arkansas 96-97 18-14 NIT Final Four
Arkansas 97-98 24-9 NCAA Second Round
Arkansas 98-99 23-11 NCAA Second Round
Arkansas 99-00 19-15 NCAA First Round
Arkansas 00-01 20-11 NCAA First Round
Arkansas 01-02 14-15 No Postseason
Richardson To Be Inducted Into Hall Of Fame
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