Sports

Nolan Richardson speaks about legacy of the late Frank Broyles

Richardson speaks about Broyles

El Paso's own Nolan Richardson spoke highly Monday about the late Frank Broyles - the man who hired him as the head coach of the Arkansas men's basketball team - despite the rocky history between the two men.

"My heart goes out for his family and his friends...your heart always goes out to those people," Richardson said.

Broyles died at the age of 92 on Monday. 

Broyles famously led Arkansas football to their lone national title in 1964 as head coach.  He then ushered in a new era of athletics at the school as athletic director, including a move to the SEC.

Perhaps one of his best decisions as athletic director was to hire Nolan Richardson as the basketball team's head coach.

Richardson would lead the Razorbacks to a national title in 1994, but the end of his tenure saw him clashing with Broyles.

Despite the tension at the end of Richardson's run at Arkansas, Richardson says he's still thankful that Broyles took a chance on him.

"So, giving me the opportunity to come in and be a first among the African-American people, speaks volumes of what he did.  That you cannot take away.  And I respect and honor that until this day - until the day I leave," he said.

Richardson was fired in 2002 and then sued claiming he was the victim of racial discrimination.  A federal judge would later dismiss the case, but the judge stated he understood the way Richardson felt.

Broyles testified that Richardson was fired because of comments he made after a loss to Kentucky.  Broyles believed those comments, in which Richardson said he would be open to a buyout of his contract, indicated the coach had lost faith in the program.

Richardson believed the school had discriminated against him, in part, by giving head football coach Houston Nutt bonuses and extensions for what he believed to be lesser achievements.

When asked about the lawsuit today, Richardson had this to say:

"Well, that's documented.  [Broyles] was a very strong person, and that you have to admire," Richardson said.

Broyles would later speak highly of Richardson in a 2015 statement he provided to ESPN.  The former athletic director said of Richardson:

"My family and I have the utmost respect for Nolan and his wife, Rose. I have continued to be proud of his accomplishments and believe his impact on the game of basketball will stand the test of time. The entire state is happy that he chose Northwest Arkansas to be his home."


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