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Former Razorbacks coach toast of the town

By Wally Hall

This article was published August 6, 2014 at 3:38 a.m.


Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson stands on stage during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2014 announcement, Monday, April 7, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Nolan Richardson won the college basketball triple crown, and now he's going for an August daily double.

Richardson will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday in recognition of his achievements as a head basketball coach. Those achievements included winning the 1994 NCAA national championship at Arkansas, but before that he won the National Invitation Tournament with Tulsa in 1981 and before that the national junior college championship at Western Texas in 1980.

Richardson also is being honored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas at its annual Toast & Roast on Aug. 21.

Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson and former Razorbacks players under Richardson, including the always clever Todd Day and the witty Pat Bradley, will speak at the roast. Of course, so will Richardson.

Richardson took the Razorbacks to three Final Fours and won a school-record 389 games with only 169 losses. His career record, including Tulsa, was 508-206, a .711 winning percentage.

The Toast & Roast reception begins at 6 p.m. at Embassy Suites in Little Rock. Individual tickets are $150, corporate tables $1,500 and patron tables $2,500. More information is available by calling Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas at (501) 374-6661.


Don Grisham was practically a fixture at Oaklawn Park, and he was respected and well-liked by owners, trainers, jockeys and members of the media.

A native of Hot Springs, Grisham fulfilled his lifelong dream of covering thoroughbred racing at his "home" track, where he was bitten with the racing bug at an age so young that he couldn't be admitted to the track, so he watched through a fence.

Grisham, a Henderson State graduate, worked for the Daily Racing Form for 35 years. He started out as a chart caller and worked his way up to a columnist covering Oaklawn and Arlington Park.

He may have retired from the Racing Form, but he never retired from his love of thoroughbred racing. He worked for Oaklawn and was a regular in the press box.

He always had a handshake and a smile, but his work spot was at the far end of the press box, where it was a little more quiet.

His love for horse racing was not fueled by the wagering but by the pageantry of the sport.

In the 1970s as a rookie on the Oaklawn scene, Grisham was sought out one day to see if he had any tips. He did. He said never bet more than you can afford to lose.

Grisham had a stroke last March and spent the past few months in a rehabilitation center. He passed away Monday the way he lived his life, quietly and with dignity.


Last weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame honored another great class of people who impacted pro football, and once again they swung and missed.

A case could have been made for several former players, including Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer, although it is much harder for offensive linemen to receive such recognition.

It is even more difficult to believe that Chunkin' Charlie Conerly didn't make it. He was the quarterback of the New York Giants in 1948-1961, passing for more than 19,000 yards and throwing 173 touchdown passes in a time when most teams favored a running game.

Conerly, who passed away in 1996, was the starting quarterback at Ole Miss when he enlisted in the Marines, served three years and fought in the Battle of Guam.

He led the Giants to three NFL championship games, which included winning it in 1956. He also was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1959.

No doubt a lot of guys belong in Pro Football Hall of Fame, and no doubt Conerly should be at the top of that list.

Sports on 08/06/2014

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RestoftheStory says... August 6, 2014 at 10:29 a.m.

Some of you may have forgotten that Nolan Richardson cussed the state of Arkansas and called Arkansans "a bunch of red-necked SOB's." He said other ridiculous things as well. This newspaper reported it, and Frank Broyles fired him. That was what should have happened. If a white person used that terminology (or less harsh), he would be accused of committing a hate crime, and he might even have to sell his NBA team in disgrace.

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