Phantom quote | Arkansas Blog

Phantom quote



The Democrat-Gazette carried this correction in its sports section today:

A story Friday about Arkansas State University’s search for a basketball coach incorrectly attributed this statement to former University of Arkansas basketball Coach Nolan Richardson: “My first thought is that ASU might be wise to hire a good assistant from an SEC or Big 12 school. Someone who is used to recruiting Texas and the South.” Richardson also did not speculate on other candidates.

Who did utter the direct quote? A look back at the story in which the quote appears raises questions unanswered by the correction. Read it on the jump. Enlightenment welcome.



Former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson has pronounced himself interested in the head coaching job at Arkansas State.

But in declaring his interest in the wake of Dickey Nutt’s resignation Tuesday, Richardson might have inadvertently described another potential candidate — Oklahoma State assistant James Dickey.

“My first thought is that ASU might be wise to hire a good assistant from an SEC or Big 12 school,” Richardson said. “Someone who is used to recruiting Texas and the South.”

That would be someone like Dickey, the Arkansas native and former head coach at Texas Tech.

Dickey is a 1976 graduate of Central Arkansas who is currently on Sean Sutton’s staff at Oklahoma State. As Nutt’s situation became more uncertain this season, Dickey was frequently mentioned as a possible candidate.

Dickey coached in Arkansas at Harding University, Harding Academy and Central Arkansas. He also coached alongside Eddie Sutton at Arkansas and at Kentucky. He was head coach at Texas Tech from 1991-2000, leading the Red Raiders to a 166-124 record and two trips to the NCAA Tournament.

He is in his fifth year at Oklahoma State.

Dickey also has ties to Arkansas State Athletic Director Dean Lee, a former associate athletic director at Oklahoma State. Lee has promised a nationwide search and said at the time of Nutt’s resignation that details of that search would be finalized and announced at a later date.

But that didn’t stop Dickey or Richardson, when asked, from saying they would at least be interested if contacted.

“As you know, I do have interest in being a head coach again,” Dickey said. “And I have strong relationships at Arkansas State, but I have not heard from [Arkansas State ]. My main priority now is helping this team and helping Coach [Sean Sutton ] win games.”

Richardson also has ties to Arkansas State. Interim co-head coach Al Grushkin assisted Richardson at Tulsa and Arkansas in the 1980 s and Richardson knows Lee from Lee’s days as vice president of the Razorback Foundation.

“The thing that I would say is that I’ll always be able to be talked to about whatever they have to talk about,” Richardson said.

Richardson was dismissed after a dispute with the Arkansas administration in 2002, leading to a lawsuit against the university. He has coached internationally for Panama and Mexico since then.

“I feel like I’ve been taking a six-year vacation so it’s time to go back to work,” Richardson said.

Other names to surface include former UALR Coach Mike Newell, now at NCAA Division II Arkansas-Monticello and Colorado assistant Charles Baker, former coach at Little Rock’s Shorter College.

Information for this article was contributed by Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Daily Oklahoman.

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