Thursday, October 1, 2009
Richardson, potential WNBA coach
By Dick Vitale
I recently saw an interesting transaction in the newspaper. Nolan Richardson was named head coach of a potential WNBA franchise in Tulsa, if it becomes a reality.
Richardson is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame -- I was fortunate enough to be honored in the same class -- and he said to me he really wanted to get back into coaching.
He believed that he could still motivate, inspire and direct people in a positive manner. Just listening to him, I could hear the passion in his voice. My friends, he had me convinced that he could get the job done if he had the opportunity.
I'm surprised that no Division I basketball coach decided to pick up a phone and take a chance on the Hall of Famer.
Let me tell you, any team or school that has Richardson on its sidelines would be very fortunate. He is a talent, a winner, and he knows how to put a team together. Richardson also knows how to get the most out of every athlete. These young ladies in the WNBA could learn a lot from Richardson. His 40 minutes of hell style of basketball is something special.
Richardson was the head coach at Tulsa from 1981-85, and at Arkansas from 1986-2002. In 22 seasons as an NCAA head coach, he was 508-206, (a .711 winning percentage). He was 389-169 (.697) in his 17 seasons with the Razorbacks.
Simply look at his winning track record over the years. He won a junior college, NIT and NCAA championship. He took three Arkansas teams to the Final Four. Richardson also won National Coach of the Year honors, while gaining international experience as coach of the Mexican national team.
Winning at all levels is impressive enough. Fans at Arkansas have not seen the success of Richardson since his departure.
A Hall of Famer coming back to the sidelines...WOW! That is good news for the WNBA and the Tulsa franchise that will hopefully become a reality. It is great to see him back doing what he loves -- working with young people!