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Ex-Razorbacks disagrees with Heath's firing

3/26/2007 - College Football

LITTLE ROCK -- Nolan Richardson had some advice for Arkansas
athletic director Frank Broyles after basketball coach Stan Heath
was fired Monday.

"Frank Broyles ought to take the job," Richardson said.
"Hell, he can win with the team [Heath is] leaving."

Richardson coached the Razorbacks for 17 seasons before being
fired in 2002. Heath followed Richardson and lasted five seasons
before losing the job himself.

Arkansas missed the NCAA Tournament its first three seasons
under Heath, then lost in the first round in 2006 and 2007.
Richardson said Heath should have been brought back for at least
another season.

"I thought he deserved another year" Richardson said."Just
to finish out his class and not let some other coach come in and
take what he's already beginning to start."

Arkansas had no seniors on this season's team and several
promising freshmen -- including Southeastern Conference newcomer of
the year Patrick Beverley.

"God almighty, what do you need?" Richardson said. "I just
feel bad that he didn't get a chance to coach them all the way out.
I thought maybe next year, if he didn't get to where they wanted to
be, then maybe that's the time to go."

Arkansas fired Richardson in 2002 after the coach said toward
the end of a frustrating season, "If they go ahead and pay me my
money, they can take the job tomorrow." Broyles said he
interpreted the remark as a sign that Richardson had lost faith in
the program.

Richardson subsequently sued, saying Arkansas discriminated
against him because he is black and outspoken. A federal judge
ruled against Richardson, as did the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals.

While discussing Heath, Richardson brought up the Razorbacks'
football program. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt endured losing
seasons in 2004 and 2005 but was not fired.

"I still see a big difference between football," Richardson
said. "They lost two years in a row, and still that didn't
happen."

Nutt's Razorbacks went 10-4 in 2006.