Poll: Nolan Richardson tops survey for greatest Razorback coach

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,011 views 

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll shows that former Razorback basketball coach Nolan Richardson is viewed as the greatest coach at the University of Arkansas.

The survey of 961 likely Arkansas voters, conducted last week, posed a number of legendary Razorback coaches for consideration as “greatest coach,” and allowed respondents to submit their own candidates if not on the list. Voters were asked:

Q: The University of Arkansas has had a number of successful coaches across the history of its athletic programs. In your opinion, which of the following coaches is the greatest coach of all time across all sports at the University?

11%   Frank Broyles
13%   Lou Holtz
8.5%  Dave Van Horn
17%   Nolan Richardson
13%   John McDonnell
1%     Eddie Sutton
33%   Another coach
3.5%  Don’t know

Among the “other coach” category, many participants said they “didn’t care” for the question and did not offer an alternative. However, current UA football coach Sam Pittman did receive a handful of votes as did current basketball coach Eric Mussellman and former baseball coach Norm DeBriyn.

“We added this question to our normal round of political polling just to get a read on attitudes and to have a little fun. With football, basketball, baseball, and many other university sports doing so well, we thought fans should have a chance to express their enthusiasm,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics editor-in-chief.

The poll was conducted Feb. 7-8, 2022 and has a margin of error +/-4.24%.

TB&P asked the sportscasters of content partner KATV to offer their thoughts on the poll results.

Steve Sullivan, KATV sports director:
“Wow!!! What an incredible list of coaches. Football and basketball rule in this state. So, I’m not surprised to see Nolan at the top of the list. Many who voted probably have vivid memories of Nolan’s incredible run,” Sullivan said.

“Run this kind of poll at other major programs and I don’t think you would see a track coach rated so highly. John McDonnell is the GOAT. His success story is nothing short of incredible. I was a little surprised to see Lou Holtz ahead of Coach Broyles. My list of great football coaches at Arkansas always begins with Frank Broyles.

“I want to see where Dave Van Horn is in this poll when it’s taken 10 years from now. I believe his best years are still ahead of him.”

Kyle Deckelbaum, KATV weekend sports anchor:
“Of those that responded by choosing a coach, I’m not surprised Nolan Richardson received the most votes. We’re in the middle of another unforgettable basketball season played on Nolan Richardson Court.

“Truth be told, the late John McDonnell might be the most fitting response, at least statistically. 40 NCAA championships, 83 conference championships, six national triple crowns and 12 consecutive indoor titles is a run that will likely never be duplicated.

“I’m a little surprised Dave Van Horn didn’t receive more votes, considering he’s the only active coach and there is an incredible fanbase that makes Baum-Walker Stadium come alive. But that national championship eludes him (for the time being).”

On Sunday, Talk Business & Politics will release polling on the job performance of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sen. John Boozman, and President Joe Biden. Later in the week, expect poll results on Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her opponents, recreational marijuana, and business vaccine mandates.