The former UA basketball coach led his team to a national championship in 1994.
The Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball team is heading into the Southeastern Conference tournament this week ranked 8th in the nation. The Hogs last reached that spot in Feb. 1995 after capturing the national title the year prior under the leadership of Coach Nolan Richardson. In 2019, Bud Walton Arena’s court was named after Richardson and now a group wants a road in front of the arena renamed after him as well.
During the Fayetteville City Council’s agenda session yesterday, councilman D’Andre Jones introduced a resolution to change the name of Leroy Pond Drive to Nolan Richardson Drive. Meadow Street between Stadium Drive and Graham Avenue would be renamed Leroy Pond Drive.
The initiative is being led by the University of Arkansas Black Alumni Society. The group first suggested renaming the road last August when its members sent UA Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz a list of recommendations for enhancing the climate for Black faculty, staff and students.
Coach Richardson is a valued community member who was a source of Black leadership in Arkansas as head coach of a national championship program, BAS president-elect Synetra Hughes said.
“After his departure from the university, he chose to remain in Fayetteville and has shown many African American students that this was a place they could call home,” Hughes said. “Coach Nolan Richardson embodied and empowered the growing diversity of the University of Arkansas.”
In addition to acknowledging his contributions to the university, she said the renaming of Leroy Pond Drive will also serve as “a testament to his legacy as a pioneering sports figure and celebrated leader in the Black community.”
Leroy Pond Drive and Meadow Street are both on the UA campus, put the former is a city street. Therefore the council has the right to rename it; however, they would need to work with the university to rename Meadow Street.
Council members said they prefer to work in conjunction with the university and want the institution’s opinion on the resolution. Jones said university officials have expressed concerns with the proposal, but he still supports the resolution.
“When I did speak to Chancellor Steinmetz, they expressed that they were not fully on board,” he said.
The resolution has been added to the agenda for the city council’s Mar. 16 meeting, which will be livestreamed. Public comment is permitted for residents who register via Zoom.