Page 10 -The Michigan Daily -Thursday, February 8, 1990
In Arkansas' 103-96 overtime victory over Texas
Sunday, Razorback coach Nolan Richardson showed he
couldn't take the heat.
With 14 seconds left in regulation, Richardson
walked off the court, disgusted at an intentional foul
called on guard Lee Mayberry.
Down by three points, Richardson saw his third-
ranked team about to lose for only the third time this
season and called it quits. Great example to set for your
And as Richardson hit the showers, Mayberry
answered with a three-pointer, with five ticks
remaining, to send the game into overtime. Just when
ABC returned from commercials before the start of
overtime, guess who returned to the bench.
You got it, Richardson.
He originally left the court protesting the official's
call, but came back to the bench when his team over-
came the deficit to put the contest into overtime.
After the game, Richardson said he considered not
returning to the sidelines when he was told the game
was in overtime. Why should he even need to consider
returning after leaving in protest?
This coaching move has to go down as one of the
worst in sports history. If you are going to protest a call,
you leave and do not return. You do not decide to return
at your leisure, especially if your team comes back in
the final seconds.
When Georgetown coach John Thompson walked
off the court in a game last year protesting Proposition
42, he did so before the game to express his feelings on
out of bounds
this controversial subject. He didn't show up later be-
cause the game became exciting.
He said he would leave the court before his next
game to protest what he felt would be damaging to
college athletics and did so.
Richardson lost his composure and acted like a child.
When he saw his team had the possibility to win, he
jumped on the bandwagon and the opportunity to coach
his team again, forgetting about his action only 14
ABC color commentator Cheryl Miller best summed
up the situation during overtime. "This doesn't make
him or the team look good," she said. "If you're protest-
ing the game, he should have stayed out."
Richardson added that this was a great game and felt
he should return to watch the extra five minute period.
Maybe he said to himself, "What was I thinking leaving
such a great game. If I come back during the com-
mercial break, maybe nobody will notice."
Did he really feel his players, the Texas team, the
fans, the announcers and the television viewers would
forget that he left the game? When was the last time you
saw a baseball manager kick dirt on an umpire, get
tossed out and return to apologize saying he did not
mean to do what he did?
Things like this just do not occur. When you make a
stand - keep it.
Thompson proved that this could be done even with
objectors surrounding you on all sides. Richardson
could not stand the heat and left the kitchen.
Even though it is only February 1990, Richardson
may have just won coaching blunder of the decade.
Fisher hopes Blue
finds right tradition
The end for Bill Frieder started at
last year's Indiana game. They
announced that the coach for Indiana
was none other than the dreaded
There were boos. Then the PA
announcer proclaimed that Michigan
"is coached by Bill Frieder." And
there were more boos. The
handwriting was on the wall.
"It bothered him that he was not
better received at times - at least
from the crowd. He's made mention
of that," Fisher remembered.
And now, heading into the first
home game after the Purdue
shellacking, Fisher will find himself
facing folks who for the first time
since he became Michigan coach,
booed him and his team.
When Michigan gave up at the
end of the last Wednesday's show-
down and let Purdue take with them
some nice departing gifts - slam
dunks - those still around let out
resounding boos. The media haran-
gued the Wolverines for individual-
istic play then Fisher lost Sean
Higgins to injury. A tough week.
Will the boo birds continue
chirping after Knight's name is call-
ed and into Fisher's introduction to-
night? No. But Fisher is not in as
comfortable a seat as he was before
the conference schedule began a few
weeks ago - not without Higgins,
not without first place in the Big
Ten, and not with three conference
Earlier this season Fisher told of
his own gameplan to try and quiet
the cynics - one to which Frieder
"Sometimes the best thing to do
is nothing. Rather than get in there
and stir everything up and tell them
all the reasons why what they are
saying is wrong, you just kinda bite
your lip and not say anything,"
Now, that strategy has to be put
to use. The lip might start to get a
little bloody from all the bites. And
Fisher has reiterated the same belief
in recent days.
There is the Michigan basketball
tradition - never quite playing up
to expectations despite unlimited
potential. Fisher has heard about it
frequently. And Fisher knows all
about traditions. As a young boy
growing up in Herrin, Illinois,
Fisher's family made the youngster
learn the importance of tradition.
"We had a lot of traditions,"
Fisher recalled. "Every Sunday after
church we would go to my grand-
mother's house for Sunday dinner,
you know lunch, but we called it
dinner. And we fished. There were a
lot of little lakes around Herrin.
Either Crab Orchard Lake or Little
Grassy Lake, those were the two
main ones. My dad was a big fisher-
man. We would fish every weekend
during the spring and summer."
Traditions were firmly entrenched
on Fisher. Church, family, Sunday
dinner at lunch time, fishing - the*
whole spiel. He must have learned
that you don't change a tradition.
Unless, of course, it is the
tradition that seems to pull down
Michigan basketball every year:
missed opportunity and missed po-
tential. "So often they kept saying,
'Well, they got all these great All-
Americans and now they don't have
enough basketballs to go around,"'
Fisher said earlier this year. "That
was never true. It was never true and
that was the image some people had
of our kids and our program.
Sometimes you never change that."
It disappeared briefly, but now it
has returned. The old rap is back. It
has been sad to see the beleaguered
and tired look on Fisher at times
during the season, but as he points*
out, "The most important thing is to
look at your heart and say 'I am
doing everything I can on the floor
and off the floor."' In this case, he
After the Purdue game, Fisher
pointed to another Michigan
tradition - bouncing back in times
of adversity. This time definitely
qualifies as adversity, especially with
the loss of Higgins.
And in Wisconsin, Michigan-
played a consistent, steady basketball
game with a more even flow of the
offense. Could this be a new
Michigan tradition? Time will tell.
And time will tell which
Michigan tradition - underachievers
or fighters in adversity - will mark
the 1990 season.
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