Nolan? Summitt? Sutton? Hog Fans Happy To Let Imaginations Run Wild

Thursday, April 5th 2007, 6:22 pm
By: News On 6

lITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Arkansas fans know the feeling, and at this point in the school's surreal search for a basketball coach, Razorbacks supporters seem ready for some comic relief.

"Had a guy talking about, 'Bring Nolan back, and we'd probably win at least 25 games with this team,"' said Rick Schaeffer, a radio broadcaster for Razorbacks games.

No, Nolan Richardson probably won't be the next coach at Arkansas. The former Tulsa coach was fired by the school in 2002, then brought a lawsuit. But at this point, nothing seems impossible, especially after Dana Altman took the job Monday and changed his mind Tuesday.

Now fans are happy to throw out any scenario imaginable.

Former Arkansas coach Eddie Sutton has two sons who could be candidates. Sean Sutton is the coach at Oklahoma State, and Scott Sutton is in charge at Oral Roberts.

Schaeffer, though, said he heard a different suggestion.

"One guy suggested that we hire Eddie Sutton for a year and hire either Scott or Sean -- who are both head coaches -- and bring them as an assistant coach to Eddie the first year," Schaeffer said. "And then they'll replace him after that."

Sound far fetched? There's more., a prominent Arkansas fan message board, has a forum devoted to the search. One thread was about former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian.

"If he's still alive he's not a bad option," responded a poster with the alias BrooklynRoss. "His teams literally incited fear in opponents." Tarkanian is still alive.

Another name tossed out on the message board: Nolan Richardson III, the former Arkansas coach's son.

KNWA television in northwest Arkansas ran a segment Wednesday on whether Pat Summitt should be considered. Summitt won her seventh national title this week as Tennessee's women's coach.

KNWA's Aaron Peters said Skip Bayless on ESPN had suggested Summitt, so the station talked to Arkansas assistant coach Glynn Cyprien and some female students about it.

"It was more of a fun piece to break up all this jazz," Peters said.

Arkansas eyed Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie last week, and received permission to talk to Memphis' John Calipari. The saga appeared over when Altman's hiring was announced, but Altman is back at Creighton now.

Schaeffer, a former sports information director at Arkansas, hosts a radio call-in show in Arkansas. He doesn't see anything wrong with a little tongue-in-cheek speculation.

"Sports is supposed to be fun," Schaeffer said. "Maybe it's all the call-in shows and maybe it's the message boards, and it's gotten way too serious."

In fact, Schaeffer himself had a crazy idea for the next coach -- one he shared with co-host Randy Rainwater recently.

"I told Randy Rainwater before Dana Altman was announced," Schaeffer said. "I said, 'What about John Wooden?"'