Nolan Richardson receives Naismith Hall of Fame jacket

Nolan Richardson receives Naismith Hall of Fame jacket

His full-court press system was known as "40 Minutes of Hell," and this weekend, Nolan Richardson is being immortalized among basketball's greats.

Thursday in Springfield, Mass., Richardson received his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2014 jacket. His biographer told ABC-7 that the El Segundo Barrio native and former UTEP hoops player is a "trouble-maker" who made the world a better place.

Richardson is still the only basketball coach to win the junior college, NIT and NCAA Division-I national championships.

"Has it been something I wanted? Absolutely," Richardson told NBA TV. "My cup runneth over. ... I give my heartfelt to all of you ... for letting me have the opportunity to consider myself now a hall-of-famer."

A hall-of-famer like class of 1997 inductee Don Haskins, who coached Richardson at UTEP.

"I wonder how many of you coaches out there have had a guy like Nolan Richardson help you unload your U-Haul," Haskins said in his induction speech in 1997.

Haskins' wife Mary remembered Richardson welcoming his new coach to the dorms, and knows exactly how "The Bear" would have paid tribute to his pupil at this weekend's ceremony.

"He would say that the award was long overdue," Mary Haskins said.

The first black head coach of a men's program in the old Southwest Conference won a national title with the University of Arkansas in 1994.

"A point of pride for me that Don and Nolan worked together," Mary Haskins said. "Just brushed aside issues of race. I mean, who cared?"

Richardson got his head coaching start at his alma mater Bowie High School in the late 1960s.

He often helps at the the annual Basketball in the Barrio camp, put on by his biographer and fellow Don Haskins disciple Rus Bradburd, who's in Massachusetts this weekend for the ceremony.

"Regardless of whether he's a better coach than Rick Pitino or Don Haskins or Mike Krzyzewski, that's all debatable," Bradburd said. "But what's not debatable is his place in history, and the historical importance of Nolan Richardson just cannot be overstated."

Joining Richardson in the class of 2014 are nine other inductees, including 30-year NBA Commissioner David Stern. The enshrinement ceremony is Friday at 4:30 p.m. on NBA TV.

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