Arkansas SEC Moment No. 9: The end of the Nolan Richardson era

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — This is unlike other countdowns you have seen honoring Arkansas’ 25 seasons in the SEC. This one is about memories. And we here at SEC Country wanted to reflect on the best — and worst — of the last quarter-century.

This countdown is not just the best football moments or best games. It includes “where were you when” snapshots along with tales of players, teams and seasons.

It should be noted this list is limited to the so-called Big 3 sports. Apologies to other sports — especially track & field — but at some point comparing moments across the spectrum becomes impossible.

Here are the previous top moments:

9. The end of the Nolan Richardson era

No one wanted it to end that way. Not Nolan Richardson. Not Frank Broyles. Not the Arkansas fan base.

When the only coach to ever lead the Razorbacks to a basketball championship was let go with two games left in the 2001-02 season, it was no surprise. Richardson had gone off in front of the media at his press availability that week. He outright accused the university of racism and practically dared Broyles to fire him.

The men’s athletic director obliged and Arkansas finished the season 14-15. It was the first losing season at the school since 1986-87, Richardson’s first season in Fayetteville.

Fences mended in the years that followed — though that, too, took time. Lawsuits were filed and Richardson had almost nothing to do with the school until just the last few years. Time healed the wound, Richardson would ultimately say a couple years back. He forgave. He apologized. As did Broyles. As did Razorbacks Nation.

Richardson won nearly 70 percent of his games in his 17 seasons at Arkansas. The Razorbacks went to the Final Four three times and the national title game twice, winning one championship in 1993-94.

But the Arkansas basketball program has not been the same since he left.

The post Arkansas SEC Moment No. 9: The end of the Nolan Richardson era appeared first on SEC Country.

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