For 30 minutes on Friday night at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts former Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson spoke. It was lively, passionate, funny and emotional. Once he was done, he was officially enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
While other inductees remained standing at the podium, Richardson continued to move from side to side, engaging with his presenters — John Thompson and Tiny Archibald — who were seated on stage. Later in the evening, when it was Bob Leonard’s turn to speak, he asked Richardson “Where are you preaching next Sunday?”
He started off by thanking Thompson and John Chaney for being black college coaches he looked up to, as he tried to break into coaching. Richardson later reminisced on a funny story from the first time he heard about Larry Bird. He also chronicled his coaching career. Then, during his list of personal thank yous, he discussed the loss of his 15-year-old daughter.
In Richardson’s college coaching career at Tulsa and Arkansas, he won 509 games and led Razorbacks to the 1994 national championship.
Two legendary college basketball head coaches were enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last night as former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson and former Maryland coach Gary Williams were among the Class of 2014 inductees.
Both head coaches won national championships as Richardson took Arkansas to the title in 1994 and three Final Fours overall (1990, 1994, 1995) in a career that led to a 509-207 overall record. Williams led Maryland to a national title of its own in 2002 and compiled a career record of 668-380 during his college coaching career.
The coaches were inducted in Springfield, Massachusetts last night and each coach had a chance to give a speech.
“I almost threw away basketball because of that,” Richardson said in his Hall of Fame speech. “And I’m trying to coach a team the first time at Arkansas. There was unbelievable pressure. I could care less if I ever win. Then I asked the good man upstairs what should I do. I knew she [daughter Yvonne] wouldn’t want me to quit.”
“So I rededicated myself again,” Richardson said. “When I think of winning, sometimes I think we do so for the ones we loved so much. I was happy, but it was different. Things went in the right perspective at that time. What’s more important a life or a game? That’s what I was faced with. I will pick life every time.”
It’s nice to see two really good coaches from the college game get their time in the spotlight by getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. With Richardson’s distinctive and memorable “40 Minutes of Hell” uptempo style and Williams taking a team to a national championship without a McDonald’s All-American, both were very good at what they did in unique ways.
Kentucky, Memphis, Ohio State and South Florida will compete in a pair of games at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on Nov. 27, 2015. John Calipari and his Wildcats will go head-to-head with a familiar face in Orlando Antigua, the new head coach of USF, while Ohio State will take on Memphis.
Goodman notes that under the event’s format, each school will play three games in addition to the neutral-court matchup.
The Basketball Hall of Fame sponsors another early season showcase, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Tip-Off Tournament, held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Last year’s event featured a showdown between Louisville and North Carolina. The 2014 field includes Notre Dame, Providence, Florida State and UMass.
On Tuesday morning, the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame committee announced its eight-person Class of 2014. Headlining the list of inductees are former Maryland head coach Gary Williams, LSU center Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill, a two-time national champion at Duke.
The Class of 2014 will officially been inducted on Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland in Kansas City, Mo.
Rounding out the class are players Zelmo Beaty (Prairie View A&M) and Darrell Griffith (Louisville), coach Dale Brown (LSU) along contributors Howard Garfinkel, who started Five-Star Basketball Camp and Glenn Wilkes, Sr., who coach at Stetson, but also directed clinics and camps and authored multiple books.
Williams had three coaching stops — American, Boston College and Ohio State — before returning to his alma mater in 1989. Williams retired in 2011, leading the Terrapins to back-to-back Final Four appearances, ending that run with a National Title in 2002. On Tuesday evening, Williams joined SportsNet Central on Comcast SportsNet to discuss his latest honor.
The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2006. This will be the hall’s ninth.
The honors are continuing to roll in for Jerry Tarkanian, the former national champion coach who amassed more than 700 victories (more if you include junior colleges) in his 30-year coaching career at Long Beach State, UNLV and Fresno State
The latest recognition comes from the school he played his collegiate ball for (1954-1955) and the final team he coached, Fresno State. The university announced on Tuesday that Tarkanian will be honored on January 1, 2014 at noon. Later that afternoon, the Bulldogs host UNLV, the school Tarkanian led to the 1990 national championship.
“Jerry Tarkanian is one of the true legends in the coaching profession,” Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said in a press release. “He has been successful at so many different levels in college basketball and his induction to the Hall of Fame is yet another accomplishment in Coach Tarkanian’s illustrious career.”
Tarkanian, 83, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April. That became official in September. In October, UNLV unveiled a bronze statue of “Tark the Shark” sitting on the bench, biting on his trademark towel.
The New Year’s Day game between UNLV and Fresno State begins at 3 p.m. The release says that the first 1,000 fans inside the Save Mart Center will get a free Tark Towel.
Jerry Tarkanian, who guided UNLV to the 1990 NCAA title, was one of a dozen new members inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Springfield, Mass.
Tarkanian is currently 83 years old, and unfortunately his health has been declining, which limited his Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend. During Saturday afternoon’s press conference, he did not make an opening speech, though he did get the loudest ovation from the crowd. When he did respond to the media’s questions, his voice was soft and his answers were short.
“This took me by surprise,” Tarkanian told NBC Sports on Saturday.
In his pre-recorded speech, his wife Lois reads the first portion, in which Tarkanian explains about his background as the son of an Armenian immigrant. Midway through Tark the Shark was able to personally thank his friends in the basketball community.