Jim Harris: Razorback Basketball – Hunter Yurachek Better Get It Right

In less than a week, the University of Arkansas fired a coach who desperately wanted to be a legend and named a court for a Razorback basketball coach who is one.

Mike Anderson is out. Nolan Richardson is in, and had things gone down the way some Hog fans may have dreamed, Richardson would have retired, leaving Anderson to pick up the Razorback mantel and move toward carving his name permanently somewhere on the Fayetteville campus.

But that’s not what happened then. But here’s where the Razorback basketball program is now.

You didn’t have to fire Mike Anderson to end up with some middle-of-the-pack Sun Belt Conference/C-USA/Atlantic 10 coached team.

Hunter Yurachek better have some hint from the handlers/agents/whomever of there being serious interest in the now-open UA men’s basketball coaching job by better coaches. It doesn’t have to be the accepted “big name,” like Beard/Sampson, but it needs to be somebody that the real experts/other coaches know is THAT guy who has IT (Eddie Sutton from Creighton, Nolan Richardson at Tulsa, etc.).

Mike Anderson is worlds better than 200-something major college coaches out there. Many Hog fans won’t give him his due and keep trotting out 2 NCAA wins in 8 years and three trips there etc. etc., but let me introduce you to what happens when you tire of your same-ol’ decent coach: Vanderbilt tossed a pretty successful by VU standards coach, Kevin Stallings, to Pitt, and then hired the next big name, little brother of Baylor’s “wunderkind,” and found itself after one OK year going 0-19 against SEC competition in the guy’s third year. Blame an injury, bad luck, whatever you want, but facts is facts.

You don’t fire Stan Heath to ultimately hire to John Pelphrey. You got a decent coach/great guy to pull you out of the Pel mire in Mike Anderson.

Also, you don’t fire a coach with the record of Nolan Richardson to end up with Stan Heath, but that’s another story.

I don’t give a damn how much Nolan’s last 6 years or whatever weren’t as good as years 4-11. Unless the guy breaks the rules, you don’t go behind his back with all the big-money booster guys and have bitch session after bitch session claiming “he’s quit recruiting; he’s quit coaching” and stab the guy in the back.

He did as much or more for Arkansas than pretty much anyone. The only thing most the message board experts seem to remember about the last three years of Richardson’s tenure is, “he blew up and sued the university.”

Today the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees named the court at Bud Walton Arena for Nolan Richardson, the best coach in any of the big-three sports – football, basketball, baseball – in more than two decades in Fayetteville.

Now is no time to foul up the hiring of a coach worthy of calling plays on that new court.

NolanCourt Razorback Basketball

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