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Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of 1994: President Clinton Comes To Bud Walton Arena

College basketball wasn't the only thing from Arkansas making the news in the early/mid '90s.

Tom Ewart/Getty Images

Bill Clinton came back to Arkansas on a pretty dang fun Christmas visit during his first year in the White House, and part of that trip included a visit to Bud Walton Arena on December 28th to see his beloved Hogs take on Texas Southern.

The game itself wasn't particularly interesting (the rematch in the 1995 NCAA Tournament turned out to be much more interesting). The Razorbacks blew out the Tigers 129-63 in the type of game in which 13 different Hogs scored, six in double figures and none reached 20 points. In fact, the leading scorer was actually Davor Rimac with 18 points. That's not a sentence we'll be writing very often during this series.

The big story was that the sitting President of the United States was in attendance. According to Sports Illustrated, it was believed to be the first time a sitting President had attended a college basketball game. Or as they put it, "the first hoops-savvy, Hog-calling, standing sitting President."

It was a very cool thing, although I understand the security everyone had to go through in order to enter the arena was a giant pain. But still. It was a great memory.

Clinton went back to the locker room after the game was over and met with the team. Nolan Richardson presented Clinton with a set of the team's knee-length baggy shorts. Richardson said, "you're running around in those Marilyn Monroes," a horrible example of which can be found here.

While Texas Southern left Fayetteville with an 0-7 record, they actually had a good season in the SWAC, finishing 19-11 and made the NCAA Tournament as the conference champion. They lost in the first round to none other than Duke, whom you might recall, eventually played the Razorbacks in a somewhat memorable game. Attendance: 20,098.


The Razorbacks finished non-conference play on January 3rd against SMU. The Hogs got off to a slow start and only led by six at halftime in Fayetteville, but dropped 62 points in the second half to easily claim the 96-70 victory. Al Dillard led with 23 points (five threes) and Corliss Williamson had 21. The Hogs forced 30 turnovers. Attendance: 20,008.

At this point the Hogs were 9-0, still ranked #1 and about to head into SEC play.