Nolan Richardson (b. December 27, 1941 in El Paso, Texas, United States) was a college basketball coach at the University of Tulsa and the University of Arkansas. He won the NCAA title with the University of Arkansas in 1994 and was runner-up the following year.
Richardson played collegiately at Texas Western College, now the University of Texas at El Paso, playing his senior year under the school's new coach, future Basketball Hall of Famer Don Haskins.
Richardson began his coaching career at Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas. He then moved to Western Texas Junior College, where he won the National Junior College Championship in 1980. He was the head coach at Tulsa from 1981 to 1985, leading Tulsa to the NIT championship in 1981. In 1985 Richardson became the head coach at the University of Arkansas, where he gained national recognition.
Richardson took the University of Arkansas to the Final Four three times, losing to Duke in the semifinals in 1990, winning the National Championship in 1994 against Duke, and losing in the Championship game to UCLA in 1995. He was named the National Coach of the Year in 1994. His teams typically played an uptempo game with intense pressure defense - a style that was known as "40 Minutes of Hell." He is the winningest coach in Arkansas history, compiling a 389-169 record in 17 seasons. He is the only head coach to win a Junior College National Championship, the NIT, and the NCAA Tournament.
In February 2002, Richardson spoke out against the administration at the University of Arkansas and its fans. He claimed that he was being mistreated because he was African American, and challenged Athletic Director Frank Broyles to buy out the remainder of his contract. Shortly thereafter, Arkansas dismissed Richardson as head coach. In December 2002, Richardson filed a lawsuit against the University, the Board of Trustees, and the Razorback Foundation, citing a racially discriminatory environment. (Incidentally, another African-American, Stan Heath of Kent State, replaced him as coach; the University of Arkansas dismissed Heath in March of 2007, less than five years after he'd replaced Richardson). Coach Richarsdon's lawsuit was dismissed in July 2004.
Richardson was raised in El Paso's "Segundo Barrio" or "Second Ward."
From 2005 to 2007, Richardson served as the head coach of the Panamanian National Team. In March 2007, Richardson was named as the head coach of the Mexican National Team, hoping to get them to the Olympics, where they have not been since 1976.