Razorback basketball head coach Mike Anderson had a message to deliver to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters last Thursday at the second annual Greers Ferry Lake Razorback Club’s banquet in Clinton.
"I want to win (an NCAA) championship as a head coach, and I’m going to do it here at Arkansas — we’re going to do it together," he said to cheers and applause.
Anderson, the long-time assistant to coach Nolan Richardson, is in his third year as head coach at the University of Arkansas after spending five years at Missouri. He was an assistant coach in 1994 when the Razorbacks, under Richardson, won the national championship.
"I came back to the Razorback Nation. There are no other fans like you guys. That’s why I came back," Anderson said.
He joked a bit about last season’s road-game curse, saying, "Before I came here they were losing on the road and at home." Last season, he noted, 17 out of 18 times, fans at Bud Walton arena went home happy. The Hogs only home loss was to Syracuse.
He talked about the importance of educating the athletes, "That’s what it’s all about," and said he has been busy rebuilding the team.
"It’s easier to tear it down than to build it up," Anderson said. "We’re building it right."
Before Anderson took the stage, track and field coach Chris Bucknam had a turn at the podium.
Bucknam talked about the many championships the track and field team won under legendary coach John McDonnell, and how he is striving to carry on that winning tradition.
"Any home around the world knows about Razorback track and field," Buckman said.
During a live auction, fans snapped up Razorback tickets and paraphernalia. Some of the tickets went for several hundred dollars.
Before the banquet, in the VIP room, Lynnette Collums, 90, of Bee Branch was presented with a basketball signed by Anderson in appreciation of her 70 years of calling the Hogs.
"I never leave the games, no matter what the weather is," she said. She has been a fan since 1942.