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Nolan Richardson to be Awarded Father Rahm Segundo Barrio Person of the Year Award

El Paso’s favorite native son, Nolan Richardson, is set to accept another honor Thursday night.

Organizers with Sacred Heart Church announced Richardson would be honored with the Father Rahm Segundo Barrio Person of the Year Award Thursday night.

According to organizers, the award “recognizes an individual or organization committed to the betterment, works and service to the cultural, historical, economic, educational and social empowerment of the Segundo Barrio (Second Ward), and its inhabitants, values and unique experience.”

Richardson began his coaching career at Bowie High School in El Segundo Barrio in El Paso, Texas.  He has 508 wins, 3 NCAA Final Fours and 1 NCAA National Title.  He is the only coach in history to win a national championship in junior college, NIT, and the NCAA.

Officials add that, “…not only has he succeeded in basketball,  Nolan Richardson Jr., has left a massive footprint on the Segundo Barrio, that will last many a lifetime.”

The mission of the Father Rahm Segundo Barrio Person of the Year Award is to “highlight, support and expand the unique historical and cultural imprint of the Segundo Barrio, its people and place in the history of the Paso del Norte region.”

For more information on the group and their award, Click HERE.

Event Schedule:

Thursday May 11, 2017
Dinner: Epic Railyard Event Center
2201 E. Mills Ave.
Cocktails 5:30 pm and Dinner at 7:30pm

Friday May 12, 2017
Lydia Patterson Institute Visit
517 S Florence St
8:30am – 9:30am

Guillen Middle School Visit
900 S Cotton St
10:00am – 11:10am

La Fe Preparatory School
616 E Father Rahm Ave

12:00pm – 1:00pm

Saturday May 13, 2017
Parade followed by Celebration at Sacred Heart Church
Starting at San Ignacio Church
408 Park St.
Starting at 9:00 am

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Video+Gallery+Story: Bowie High Gym Renamed to Honor Hall of Famer Nolan Richardson

It was an afternoon of thanks, memories, humble remarks and honor for a tremendous athlete, coach and Hall of Famer Nolan Richardson who can now add the honor of having gym named after him.

During a dedication ceremony on Saturday at Bowie High School, members of the Bowie High School Memory Lane Committee unveiled the gym’s name change – to the Nolan Richardson Gym. The El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the name change in the Spring.

About 200 people, some Bowie High School students, Bowie High School alumni, and former students and players came to honor the Hallcrowd of Fame coach on Saturday.

Richardson is the only coach in national history to win a junior college national championship, the NIT title and the NCAA Championship. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014; and in 2015 was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

But despite all the national recognition, Richardson, 74, said the naming of the gym in his honor was the greatest.

“Today is a very very very important event in my life…you know I started Bowie High School in 1955 and then I started coaching for them for 13 years.” Richardson said, “It’s incredible. I’ve won all kinds of awards in my career but never one so important as this one. Anytime you get a chance to live, and you are able to witness and your grandkids are able to witness it’s a beautiful thing, it’s a beautiful gift. You know a lot of things are done after you are gone.”

Bowie Principal Michael Warmack, said Richardson was a testament and great example of what a Bowie High School student could achieve.

“We are really honored this morning that we get to honor one of our own who has set a wonderful example – of someone who has done great things,” Warmack said. “And it doesn’t come easy. It takes a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of dedication.”

Ray Sanchez
Former El Paso Herald Post Sports Reporter Ray Sanchez speaks about the first write up he did about former Bowie High School coach; and Hall of Famer Nolan Richardson.

Former El Paso Herald Post Sports Writer Ray Sanchez spoke about the first time he saw Richardson hit a home run while playing for the Little League Baseball in 1950.

“You have to remember the time, segregation was rampant,” Sanchez said. “Discrimination was widespread and I faced some of it myself being Hispanic…but it was nothing like Nolan was about to overcome.”

Sanchez went on to recall that in 1950, Bob Haynsworth came from Georgia, “One of the most segregated states in the Nation” and settled in El Paso, where he decided to start a little league baseball team.

“And Bob Haynsworth decided to open it to all races, even though he had come from the South,” Sanchez said. “And there among all those kids as Nolan Richardson – standing out like a lamp post. I mean he was bigger than most of the kids. He was Black and beautiful and all I could do was smile when I saw that. And then, when he stepped out and hit a home-run over the fence, I thought, ‘I’m going to give him his very first write up in the El Paso Herald Post’ …Oh, if I had only known then what was to become – to see this young man develop into one of the greatest athletes in the history of El Paso; and one of the greatest coaches in the history of our nation.”

Sanchez added that reporting on Richardson and interviewing him for books he’s written about him, has been his greatest pleasure in his life.

“I’ve been lucky that I’m still here to take his photo and I’m still alive to honor him today.”

Susan H. Oliva, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center in El Paso, said she knew Richardson because of his work with the center.

During her speech Oliva listed off the many organizations Richardson had given to throughout his time in El Paso and Arkansas and other communities including  Candlighters of El Paso, the Child Crisis Center, El Paso Diabetes Association, Operation Noel, the Opportunity Center for the Homeless, the PC Junior Golf Tournament, Reach for the Star Foundation, Rio Grande Cancer Foundation, St. Pius X Food Pantry, the Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics of Texas, University Breast Care Center, the YWCA, Champion for Kids, The Humane Society of the Ozarks, The Humane Society of El Paso, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of New Mexico and El Paso, and many many more.

“I know Nolan Richardson as a hero,” Oliva said turning to him. “Yes, you are a hero. You care about our community, you provide assistance to many organizations. Everyone can get a piece of the pie. Coach Richardson may not live in El Paso, but his heart never left El Paso.”

Given Richardson’s long list of accolades and generous donations to charity, members of the Bowie Alumni Community and the Memory Lane Committee, spent months advocating for the name change. The change, they said was meant to reflect the success the students could achieve once they reach their potential.

Richardson said that having the gym named after him was a great honor because Bowie High School was where he got his start.

“It was in 1955 – the first year that schools were desegregated, and I was able to come from Douglas school to Bowie High School,” Richardson said. “So that’s how long I’ve had this love affair with Bowie High School.”

Richardson continued detailing his career at Bowie High School – and how thankful he was to his first coach Dave Rodriguez, whom he found in the crowd and asked him to stand up.

In 1964 Richardson coached 7th, 8th, and 9th grade basketball and for 13 years he coached the team at Bowie.

“I played football, I played baseball and sometimes I ran track,” Richardson said. “But if it wasn’t for the players then at Bowie, then thisNolan would not be happening today. I think I was blessed. I was blessed totally. I’m in 13 Hall of Fames – Imean there’s no more left.”

In a humbling moment, Richardson added that the greatest part about Saturday was that his children and his grandchildren got to see the things he’s done before he’s gone.

He then recalled losing his daughter Yvonne, 29 years ago to Leukemia at the age of 15, and added that the reason he gives to so many charities is because he saw so much suffering in the hospital.

“The Lord put me there to see what I had to see,” he said. “I saw what I had to see and all I knew is that I had to help. There had to be something I can do. I get asked a lot why I give to so many charities – and I say it’s because it’s better to give something to someone than nothing to all of them.”

He then added he had recently lost his son Nolan Richardson III, at 47 who had been his assistant coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“One morning he just didn’t wake up like the rest of us,” Richardson said. “You know strength must be gained from above. You can get beat, you can get down, and you will stay down if you don’t try to get up…I’ll never forget Jessie Owens once said while running attack meet he was going for that gold medal. He was going around the curve and was running out of air and all of a sudden he looked up to the sky and said, ‘Lord you pick em up and I’ll put them down.”

That stuck with Richardson and then he raised his voice and it boomed across the gym.

“No one owes you anything. The only thing we know we have to do is die. That is what we know we have to do. You know you won’t be around forever. While we are here, we need to make the best out of it – make the best out of each day.”

He concluded his speech with one of his signature phrases: “If it’s got to be, it’s up to me…not daddy, not mamma, not brother, not sister – it’s up to me to get what I want out of life.”

For additional coverage, click on El Paso ISD’s Video Package.

Bowie HS Gym to Bear name of Former Player, Coach Nolan Richardson

Students, staff and alumni of Bowie High School will gather on Saturday to officially dedicate the gym of the South Side school in honor of one of its legendary players and former coaches: Basketball Hall of Famer Nolan Richardson.

The EPISD Board of Trustees this spring unanimously approved a community-based request to name the gym after Richardson, the former Bear basketball legend who played college basketball for Don Haskins at UTEP and gained national fame as the head coach of the NCAA championship team from the University of Arkansas.

The name change for the gym was spearheaded by members of the Bowie alumni community, including the Memory Lane Committee. The group spent months advocating the change and speaking with community members about their plans.

Bowie Principal Dr. Michael Warmack said the school has welcomed the name change as yet another sign of pride for the school.

“Nolan Richardson stands as proof of the power of education and what a community like our can do to help students succeed,” he said. “Our students will play in a gym that bears the name of someone who, like them, came to this school and achieved his potential.”

The dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Bowie High School gym, 801 S. San Marcial. The public is invited. Richardson is expected to be in attendance.

Bowie High School Gym to be Named after Coach Nolan Richardson

The El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday night will vote on the renaming of the Bowie High School gymnasium after Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Nolan Richardson.

Bowie community members asked the District to honor Richardson, a 1960s graduate of the South Side school. The District already named a Northeast middle school in honor of Richardson.

Richardson played basketball for the Bowie Bears and then for the UTEP Miners under legendary Coach Don Haskins. His coaching career also began at Bowie before making stops at UTEP, the University of Tulsa and the University of Arkansas, where he won the NCAA National Championship in 1994.

He also won the National Invitational Tournament in 1981 and the National Junior College Athletic Association title in 1980. He has coached two national basketball teams (Panama and Mexico), was the 1994 national Coach of the Year.

In 2014 he was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and in 2008 into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

The EPISD Board of Trustees meeting starts Education Service Center, 6531 Boeing Dr.

To view our previous story on Nolan Richardson, click HERE.

Bowie High’s ‘Memory Lane Committee’ honors Richardson, several other notable graduates

It was the moment when the basketball team went undefeated and became part of local history; It was that moment when a child of the Segundo Barrio sprinted toward the finish line at state; It was the moment when the football team’s win streak became a story to tell for generations to come.

These were the moments when an ordinary day, became a glorious one.

On Saturday, October 24th, former athletes of Bowie High School reminisced about their glory days on the track, on the football field and on the basketball courts during the first-ever Memory Lane Committee’s Bowie Bear Day event.  About 350 people, including alumni, former athletes and their families, attended the event at the small gym at Bowie High School.

Hall of Famer and former Bowie Bear and Bowie basketball and football coach Nolan Richardson shares a moment with one of the school's alumn. Richardson was honored by the Memory Lane Committee at Bowie High School for his role at the high school as an All State Football and Basketball athlete and for his tremendous coaching of the 1974 and 1975 basketball teams.
Hall of Famer and former Bowie Bear and Bowie basketball coach Nolan Richardson shares a moment with one of the school’s alumn.

Among the many athletes that were honored was distinguished Hall of Famer and Coach Nolan Richardson and former track athlete Alberto Estrada, who had waited more than 60 years to receive recognition for his accomplishments in track and field.

According to Bowie Bear Juan De Santiago, who founded the Memory Lane Committee, the newly formed committee of Bowie High School alumni is dedicated to honoring former students who may not have gained the recognition they deserved.

Through networking and several phone calls members were able to track down former athletes who did not receive their District or State awards honors.

Athletes were honored with rings, medallions or a presentation of a plaque.

Richardson, De Santiago’s basketball coach, was honored for being named a 1958 All State Football and basketball player and for coaching

Nolan Richardson demonstrates a blocking technique for basketball that he had tried to teach his team. Using Memory Lane Committee member George Acosta, Richardson shows how the technique prevents an opponent from taking away the basketball.
Nolan Richardson demonstrates a blocking technique for basketball that he had tried to teach his team. Using Memory Lane Committee member George Acosta, Richardson shows how the technique prevents an opponent from taking away the basketball.

the 1974-1975 basketball teams that were the undefeated champions under his leadership. Even with his many accolades, Richardson said that coming home every year to Bowie High School was always a great honor.

This year – was especially a privilege he said.

“Three days ago, I was in the hospital not thinking I’d make it,” Richardson said. “But the good Man upstairs has been so good to me and blessed me in so many ways…they thought I had pneumonia.” He said.

A couple days after being admitted into the hospital Richardson was released.

“They were able to release me so I could come and see my family,” he said looking out at the crowd of 350, a good number of them Bowie Bears. Richardson is widely known as the only coach to win a junior college, National Invitation Tournament and NCAA championship for Texas Western College in 1980, the University of Tulsa in 1981, and the University of Arkansas in 1994, respectively.

In Arkansas he was recognized for being the first African American coach at a major university in the south, according to the Texas Hall of Fame, where Richardson was inducted in April 2015 – after being inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008; and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

But on Saturday, Richardson, surrounded by his former athletes and their families, only had a handful of memories in mind – the successes and laughs he shared on the court with his former students.

“Melvin (Patridge) and I were talking a few minutes ago – and he missed a shot that could’ve won us the game,” Richardson said. “We could have been at the state championship game had he made the shot. He said, ‘I dream of it every night.’ And I said, hell I dream of it twice a night.”

Patridge later clarified that the shot had gone in, but the ball had spun inside the rim before coming out.

Other notable athletes were recognized as well including 1949 All State Champion Alberto Estrada. For Estrada it was a recognition that he had long awaited. Estrada, a distance runner for the track team, won the 1949 State Championship for the 1600, or the mile-run.

Alberto Estrada, 83, signals to a member of the Memory Lane Committee to take the microphone away after he became emotional during his speech. Estrada waited 66 years for this honor. He was the State Champion in the 1949 Mile-Run.
Alberto Estrada, 83, signals to a member of the Memory Lane Committee to take the microphone away after he became emotional during his speech. Estrada waited 66 years for this honor. He was the State Champion in the 1949 Mile-Run.

Estrada, who joined the team his sophomore year,  said he had waited 66 years for his recognition.

“I wanted to make the team to letter,” he said. “My ticket behind it was – I wanted to get a scholarship to go to school, because I was an orphan.”

Not knowing what event he was meant to run, he sought the advice from the team captain who said he didn’t have speed, but he had endurance and with that he began training to become a distance runner.

In 1949, Bowie High School was located at what is now known as Guillen Middle School on 900 South Cotton Street, and it was a different world.

“We ran on the grass with the maranos (pigs) and the horses and cows,” Estrada joked. “We had a beautiful running track.” As Estrada continued to reminisce, he began to get choked up and a bit teary eyed.

“It’s been a great experience being at Bowie because the people are all family,” he said.

Memory Lane Committee member Federico Castillo said the success of the event largely depended on networking, support from donors

Coach Ron Brooks of the 1986 Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams is presented with a recognition by the girls' 1986 team.
Coach Ron Brooks of the 1986 Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams is presented with a recognition by the girls’ 1986 team.

and gaining a principal for the school. About $5,000 was raised for the event. Tickets for the event were $7 each.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for a couple years now,” Castillo said. “But we weren’t able to do so because we didn’t have a principal at Bowie until this year.”

Following the EPISD cheating scandal that unfolded in 2012, with Bowie High School at the center stage, several administrators including principal Jesus Chavez, resigned, retired or were fired for their part in the scheme, which sought to cheat federal accountability measures.

Without Teran and several other administrators the high school was without an administrative leader. Then in 2013 the district hired Jesse Teran, as their principal, but Teran left for another opportunity with the Socorro Independent School District in August 2014.

Finally in March 2015, the district hired Michael Warmack, according to the El Paso ISD’s website. Warmack said he was proud to be part of the tradition at Bowie High School and hoped the Memory Lane Committee could continue honoring former students.

“You know we’re all about the students, but when you bring in people like this you bring in a lot of good role models,” Warmack said. “They not only help out the students but they can help out the other clubs as well. They set a great example for the students.”

List of Honorees:

Bowie High School All State, All City and All District Honors and Achievements:

 Andy Morales, Baseball – All State 1949

 Nolan Richardson, Basketball and Football – All State 1958

 Jose De Santiago, Basketball – All State 1975

 Andy Morales, Football – All State 1949

 Benito Landin, Football – All State 1955

 Manuel Ramos, Football – All State 1969

 Ricky Tuda, Football – All State 2000

 Hilario Tovar, Football – All District 1969 Record 13 Touchdowns.

1974-1975 Basketball Back to Back Undefeated Champions. “Uno, dos, tres the Bears are back.”

  • Head Coach Nolan Richardson. Assistant Coach Robert Gavette
  • Jesus Araujo
  • Francisco Baca
  • Joe Blueford
  • Ralph Brewster
  • Aurelio Castro
  • Gabriel Cuellar
  • Jose De Santiago
  • Joe Duarte
  • Alfredo Ferniza
  • Jose Garcia
  • Armando Gomez
  • Frank Hernandez
  • Richard Luna
  • Melvin Patridge
  • Daniel Romero
  • David Romo
  • Ernesto Rubalcava
  • Vicente Solis
  • Leo Torres
  • Alfredo Tovar
  • Arthur Westrbook

1972 Bowie Football Undefeated District Champions – 10 Straight wins

  • Head Coach Don Reider; Assistant Coach Fred Rosas; Assistant Coach Jesse Cordero.
  • Joel Acosta
  • Robert Basurto
  • Tony Benavidez
  • Daniel Bernal
  • Arturo Campos
  • Richard Cervantes
  • Tony Chavez
  • Richard Colorado
  • Alfredo Ferniza, manager
  • Jose Ferniza, Manager
  • Lorenzo Garcia
  • Tony Gomez
  • Tony Gongora
  • David Gonzalez
  • Hector Gutierrez, Manager
  • Raul Hernandez
  • Ernie Hernandez
  • Jimmy Lopez
  • Arturo Lopez
  • Felipe Luna
  • Rodney Marta
  • Ignacio Martinez
  • Jaime Molina
  • Raul Ochoa
  • Oscar Portillo
  • Guillermo Rendon
  • Joey Reyes
  • Rodolfo Rodriguez
  • Adrian Ruiz
  • Esteban Sarmiento
  • Raul Sierra
  • Armando Torres
  • Frank Vargas
  • George Vargas, Manager
  • Ruben Vasquez
  • Eulalio Villalva

1986 – Boys and Girls Cross Country Team

  • Coach Ron Brooks
  • Richard Diaz
  • Alfredo Trefjo
  • Rex Bear
  • Isidro Ramirez
  • Walter Jones
  • Jose Areaga
  • Antonio Cordero
  • Julie Orozco
  • Rosalba Sanchez
  • Lourdes Delgado
  • Patty Avila
  • Gabby Torres
  • Maria Ulloa
  • Esther Juarez
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