|ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation||[Print without images]|
|Nolan Richardson said that if coaching legends Bob Knight or John Wooden had been black, "they'd be nobodies."|
"I loved the game and what happened at Arkansas -- for a little while -- drained my love of the game," said Richardson, who has released a new book about his life called Forty Minutes of Hell. "My love of basketball is back now," he says, "but it's been a very long ride."
"I'm sure that after what happened to me at the University of Arkansas, I became, in the eyes of the guys who do the hiring and firing in college basketball, an uppity guy," said Richardson. "I don't apologize for how I conducted myself at Arkansas. I was not a 'Yes sir, no sir' type of man. All these years, athletic directors, I think, see me as someone with baggage.
"But look around. Look at some of the coaches who have gotten hired since I was let go. If I have baggage, what do they have?"
"The difference is perception," Richardson explained, "black coaches, we're judged as a group, and judged more harshly. White coaches are judged individually and usually more leniently."
"No matter how well they did the white power structure in college basketball mostly ignored them," said Richardson. "If McLendon had been white, he'd have been a star in the coaching world. If all the great coaches in basketball history like [Bob] Knight or [John] Wooden had been black, they'd be nobodies."