Nolan Richardson Files to Trademark Forty Minutes of Hell

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 150 views 

Hall of Fame basketball coach Nolan Richardson, who spent 17 seasons as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, has filed to trademark the phrase that is widely linked with his success in Fayetteville —  “Forty Minutes of Hell.”

Richardson filed two separate trademarks June 9, records with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show. The first relates to educational and entertainment services, motivational speaking services, basketball instruction and fitness training. The second relates to the intent to use the term on a variety of athletic apparel from shoes, T-shirts, hats, wristbands and jackets.

The applications have not been approved yet by the Trademark Office, but if they are, any parties who would be damaged by the trademarks will be given a chance to oppose the applications before registrations are granted.

Texas attorney Steven B. Tredennick, who was a basketball teammate of Richardson’s at Texas Western, is Richardson’s legal adviser. Tredennick offered no official comment on the filing.

Richardson, who will turn 75 in December, coached the Razorbacks from 1985 and 2002. His teams were lauded for their frenetic style of play with unrelenting, full-court pressure defense — a style that was dubbed as “Forty Minutes of Hell” to describe what Arkansas opponents would endure for an entire basketball game.

In a 2011 interview with Dick Gordon on the nationally syndicated radio show “The Story”, Richardson explained the origin of the phrase was traced to former Razorbacks player Scott Rose, who once asked Richardson during a practice early in his UA tenure why they were working so hard.

“The first Forty minutes of my workouts is almost nothing to do with basketball — it’s more conditioning drills,” Richardson explained. “Jump rope, we got a medicine ball, water balls, we run figure eights. We don’t even shoot at the basket. So one of the players said, ‘Hey coach, do we do this every day?’ And I said, ‘Yeah — you see how long it is.’ I said, ‘How long is a game?’ He said, ‘Forty minutes.’ I said, ‘We do it every day for forty minutes then.’ He said, ‘Coach that’s hell — that’s like forty minutes of hell.’ I said, ‘Oh really?’ And I just dismissed it. 

“Well, we weren’t very good and we won a game one night and a news guy comes up to him and says to him, ‘You guys put one together. Boy did you work and dive on the floor and did all this stuff.’ He said, ‘Yeah, we put forty minutes of hell on ‘em.’ Well the news guy said, ‘What?’ So he comes to me and he said, ‘Hey, this new forty minutes of hell — where’d you get that from?’’ I said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He said, ‘Well your player over there called it forty.’ And I looked at him and it was Scott Rose — Scott was the guy that came up and asked me about the forty minutes. I said, ‘Oh I just told him about how hard it is for our practices.’ He said, ‘No he called it Forty Minutes of Hell basketball.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s just call it Forty Minutes of Hell then.’ And that’s how it all got started.’

With Richardson as coach, Arkansas’ “Forty Minutes of Hell” style of play resulted in three trips to the NCAA Final Four (1990, 1994 and 1995) and a victory in the 1994 national championship game in Charlotte, North Carolina, against the Duke Blue Devils.

The phrase is so closely associated with Richardson that it’s the title of a 2011 biography written by Rus Bradburd called, “Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson.”

Richardson, who still lives in Fayetteville, is the winningest basketball coach in Arkansas history (389-169) and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

There are currently no registered trademarks for “Forty Minutes of Hell.”

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