Proposal would name Arkansas court after Nolan Richardson

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Monday, February 12, 2018
Former Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson accepts a replica of his banner unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
Former Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson accepts a replica of his banner unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

— If the student government at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, gets its wish, the floor at Bud Walton Arena will be named for former Coach Nolan Richardson.

Andrew Counce, president of the UA's Associated Student Government (ASG), submitted a recommendation to the UA athletic department on Monday in support of naming the floor for Richardson.

Counce, the nephew of former Arkansas basketball player Jimmy Counce, said he showed the ASG legislation to UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz in his monthly meeting with the chancellor last Friday. The legislation was passed by the ASG on Feb. 6 by a 41-1 vote with seven abstentions, Counce said.

The idea of naming the court for Richardson, the program's winningest coach and who led Arkansas to the 1994 NCAA Championship in the Razorbacks' first year in Walton Arena, has been around for several years.

Richardson, 76, compiled a 127-22 record at Walton Arena, winning 85.2 percent of his games there. He was 78-15 (.838) in Barnhill Arena for an overall home record of 205-37 at Arkansas.

The current push came from ASG senator Clay Smith, a junior from Jonesboro, who said he was discussing the idea with his family over Christmas break.

"My dad said, 'Why don't you do something about it in student government? That's kind of what you're there for, to make a difference if that's something you're passionate about,'" Smith said.

Smith brought the idea up with other senators and with Caleb Gray, the director of athletic relations with the ASG, and introduced the resolution to the group on Jan. 31. He said he has talked to Richardson about the idea.

"I would say to the students that if they felt I did a job they liked and they want to express their opinion on something such as naming the court after me, there's no reason for me to not want anything to happen," Richardson said.

"If it happens, that's wonderful. If it doesn't happen, that's wonderful. I've done the job that I thought I had to do, which was to get our program on a level where such a facility could be built."

UA athletic department spokesman Kevin Trainor said he was aware that the ASG letter had been sent to the department on Monday and that Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek was not in the office Monday.

Counce, a senior from Memphis, and Smith said they hoped to set up meetings with university officials to further discuss the matter.

Bob Holt and Matt Jones of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contributed information for this story

CORRECTION:An earlier version of this story stated the ASG vote was 41-0. It has been changed to reflect the correct vote tally of 41-1.


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