Fayetteville Flyer file photo
Two ceremonies are planned to officially unveil the new locations of Nolan Richardson Drive and Leroy Pond Avenue on Friday, April 16 in Fayetteville.
Nolan Richardson Drive will be dedicated at 2 p.m. at the corner of Razorback Road and the former Leroy Pond Drive. The unveiling of the new Leroy Pond Avenue will occur near the entrance of the Fayetteville National Cemetery along the former Government Avenue.
Both ceremonies will be open to the public. Those in attendance will be asked to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing when possible.
Attendees to the event on campus are asked to park in Lot 56B. Parking will be free from 12-5 p.m. Parking is available for free at the Fayetteville National Cemetery.
Speakers at both events will include Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, University of Arkansas Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, UA Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Yvette Murphy-Erby, UA Black Alumni Society President-Elect Dr. Synetra Hughes, and Fayetteville City Council Member D’Andre Jones.
City Council members last month voted to change the names of the two streets in an effort to honor Richardson, who is a former University of Arkansas men’s basketball coach.
The idea was brought forth by the University of Arkansas Black Alumni Society, who suggested renaming Leroy Pond Drive to Nolan Richardson Drive. The street is located directly in front of Bud Walton Arena where the university’s basketball teams play.
As part of the decision, Government Avenue was renamed to Lt. Col. Leroy Pond Avenue in honor of the local war hero who was born in Fayetteville and graduated from the University of Arkansas. The street runs south from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the Fayetteville National Cemetery, where thousands of veterans of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.
The resolution was passed unanimously without any debate.
Richardson coached Arkansas to its only NCAA basketball championship in 1994, and he also led his teams to the NCAA Final Four three times.
Before his time in Fayetteville, Richardson won the junior college national championship at Western Texas College, and won the NIT championship at Tulsa. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, and was honored again in 2019 when the university named the floor at Bud Walton Arena as Nolan Richardson Court.
Pond is a World War II veteran who participated in D-Day and was honored with the Silver Star, a Purple Heart and several other awards for his bravery in battle. He was later wounded in Germany and died in 1945.
The original Leroy Pond Drive was a road leading to Camp Leroy Pond, a housing complex south of where Bud Walton Arena stands today that was used for students who were returning home after World War II.