Two months ago, we received confirmation of a rumored ESPNU documentary on former Arkansas head basketball coach Nolan Richardson.
This week, we found out the name and when we can finally watch it.
ESPN spokeswoman Gracie Blackburn recently told us the film’s tentative title was “40 Minutes of Hell.” According to a video trailer posted to YouTube, the tentative title is now the official title and the air date is set for Saturday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
The one-hour film will focus on the Nolan Richardson era of Razorback basketball and is part of the network’s “SEC: Storied” series which explores the traditions, people and games unique the SEC.
A camera crew was first seen following Richardson inside Bud Walton Arena on Nov. 11 during the season-opener against USC Upstate. It was the second time Richardson was spotted inside the arena since the hiring of new head coach Mike Anderson, and likely one of only a few times the former coach has entered the building at all since his controversial departure from the program in 2002.
Anderson, whose style of play is rooted in the high pressure “40 Minutes of Hell” approach made famous by Richardson, served as assistant coach to Richardson for 17 years and was there for the program’s heyday which saw multiple Final Four appearances and a 1994 National Championship title.
The first Storied film, a documentary on former Georgia running back Herschel Walker, premiered in September. The second film, which chronicles the 1992 inaugural SEC championship game between Florida and Alabama, aired Dec. 1.
About the Film
In the early 1990’s, Arkansas enjoyed unprecedented attention and success. Former Governor Bill Clinton was sworn in as President of the United States while the University of Arkansas became one of the top men’s college basketball programs in America. The man behind the Razorbacks’ rise to prominence was head coach Nolan Richardson and his “40 minutes of hell” playing style – turn up the pressure for an entire game and the opponent will eventually break down. It was an approach that embodied Richardson’s personality.
Growing up in El Paso, Texas, the coach endured segregation that he carried with him into adulthood. When Richardson became a coach after his playing days at Texas Western University, he looked for players who could execute his intense full court system. After a successful run at Tulsa, in 1985 Richardson became the first African-American head coach in the Southwest Conference when he took over the Arkansas men’s team. By the early 90’s, as Arkansas moved to the Southeastern Conference, the coach had turned the Razorbacks into a powerhouse, culminating in the 1994 National Championship. But what happens when the pressure becomes too great even for the one creating it?
As Richardson struggled to keep winning at the level achieved in the early-to-mid 90’s, he was under scrutiny. By 2002, his anger over criticism was palpable and he was dismissed. He fired back with a wrongful termination lawsuit. In 2009, after years of division, Richardson and his players were invited back to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of their championship run. The hiring of Richardson’s former assistant coach Mike Anderson has only further strengthened the once severed bond between the coach and his school as both work towards a path of healing.
Source: ESPN MediaZone