Nolan Richardson Drive Dedicated on UA Campus
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Former Razorback men’s basketball coach Nolan Richardson helped pave the way for countless others throughout his legendary career, now future generations of Razorbacks will forge their journeys on a street that bears the name of the trailblazing Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Nolan Richardson Drive, previously Leroy Pond Avenue, was officially dedicated in a ceremony on Friday afternoon on the University of Arkansas campus.
Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, legendary Arkansas coaches John McDonnell (men’s track and field) and Norm DeBriyn (baseball), Razorback head men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman and numerous former Razorback men’s basketball players were among those in attendance for a dedication ceremony coordinated by the University of Arkansas’ Black Alumni Society and the City of Fayetteville. Later in the afternoon, a dedication ceremony was held to dedicate the renaming of Government Avenue, near the Fayetteville National Cemetery, to Lt. Col. Leroy Pond Avenue. Pond was a University of Arkansas graduate, who died in 1945 from combat wounds sustained while fighting for the Army in World War II. Last month, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously for the name changes.
“Throughout his life, Coach Nolan Richardson has been a trailblazer in the game of basketball, in his community and around the nation,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. “His accomplishments as a basketball coach are well chronicled as evidenced by his induction into both the College Basketball and Naismith Basketball Halls of Fame. However, his contributions extend far beyond the court in making in a difference in the lives of his players and countless others who have been inspired by his story. For seasons to come, fans will make their way to Bud Walton Arena on a street that pays homage to his remarkable journey and cheer on their beloved Razorbacks on Nolan Richardson Court.”
While the head basketball coach, Richardson led the Razorbacks to an overall record of 389-169, setting a school record for wins and a .697 winning percentage. He led Arkansas to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances including six Sweet 16s (1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996), four Elite Eights (1990, 1991, 1994, 1995), three Final Fours (1990, 1994, 1995) a national runner-up finish (1995) and the 1994 NCAA Championship, the first in school history.
He also coached Arkansas to five conference championships including three in the Southwest Conference (1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91) along with SWC tournament championships in the same seasons; two Southeastern Conference championships (1991-92, 1993-94), an SEC Western Division title (1994-95), and three trips to the SEC tournament championship including an SEC tournament title in 2000.
In Richardson’s 22 combined years as a head coach at the collegiate level — at Western Texas Junior College, the University of Tulsa and the University of Arkansas — he compiled a record of 508-206 (.711) and became the only head coach in college basketball history to win a National Junior College Championship, NIT Championship and NCAA Championship.
Coach Richardson was elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor in 1996 and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He was honored with a banner in Bud Walton Arena in 2015. On October 20, 2019, a ceremony was held prior to a men’s basketball game against UALR, to officially dedicate the playing surface at Bud Walton Arena, Nolan Richardson Court.