Some of you in-staters may already know this, but Nolan Richardson is coaching Mexico's national team and currently has his players in El Paso, Texas, preparing them for the upcoming 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament in Las Vegas. (In a recent tourament in El Salvador, his squad beat Honduras by a mere 102 points.)
A recent article in the El Paso Times says that ESPN's Andy Katz was in the city last week to tape "a program on Richardson's basketball journey." It's unclear to me if that means a five-minute segment on Sportscenter or some sort of documentary. Even more interesting is the article's mention that Richardson is penning his autobiography with the help of "former [University of Texas-El Paso] assistant coach and current New Mexico State English teacher Rus Bradburd." I hear that Frank Broyles has already placed his order on Amazon.com.
I'm not a huge fan of autobiographies, and Nolan's career has been filled with enough achievement and drama that I would love to see a serious writer do a biography of him. When we were in college in the early 1990s, back when the basketball program was at its peak, John and I used to wish that noted Arkansas author and sports nut Gene Lyons would follow the Hogs around for a season and produce a "The Breaks of the Game"-type book about the team. I would love to see him write a book on Nolan.
I was also struck by the following quote from Nolan in the El Paso Times: "I miss teaching. I miss meeting with the staff. I miss the workouts. But the thing I really miss most is the NCAA tournament."
Nolan's departure was a complex issue, and I've never really sorted out how I feel about it. But there are many things that I miss about the man, and the NCAA tournament is probably when I miss him the most.