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.