It has been 28 years, to the day, since my love for Arkansas Razorback basketball began. In those years I have been with the Hogs through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Since 1981, the Razorbacks have had four head coaches: Eddie Sutton, Nolan Richardson, Stan Heath, and current coach John Pelphrey.
During the first half of my 28 years of existence, the Razorbacks enjoyed their greatest run on the national scene. That included three NCAA Final Four appearances and the 1994 National Title. It also included seven conference championships—five in the SWC and two in the SEC.
During that span of time the Razorbacks went to the NCAA tournament 13 times, and advanced past the first round in all but one year.
The second half of my 28 years was not as kind to the Hogs, or the Razorback fans. They have zero Final Fours, and have won zero regular season conference championships during that time. However they have been to the NCAA tournament eight times over that 14 year span, and advanced past the first round in all but three of those trips to the Big Dance.
I have seen legendary players wear the Razorback uniform during my time. Names like: Corliss Williamson, Pat Bradley, Darrell Walker, Andrew Lang, AL Dillard, Alvin Robertson, Todd Day, Corey Beck, Ronnie Brewer, Scott Hastings, Joe Johnson, Joe Kleine, Lee Mayberry, Oliver Miller, Scotty Thurman, and the list goes on.
I have seen enough good times for Arkansas Razorback basketball that it would take ten times my age of bad times to erase all the good memories.
I was there "the night the lights went out in Barnhill," and I was there for the first ever game played in Bud Walton Arena.
Unfortunately I was there when Nolan Richardson and the University of Arkansas had a nasty split, and happily I was there when Nolan made his return to Bud Walton Arena for the Celebration of Champions 15 years after the 1994 National Title just last year.
Currently I stand by a young group of Razorbacks who are off to the worst start in Arkansas Razorback history since the 1950s and possible the worst year ever if things continue the same way they have begun.
I have been with the Hogs through thick and thin, and nothing will erase the memories I gathered while going to hundreds of games growing up. I went to the games in Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Fayetteville, Memphis, and everywhere else the Hogs went. I was part of the Hog fans that took over places like Dallas, Atlanta, and other major venues as the Hogs marched their way into tournaments.
The times spent calling the Hogs in the confines of Barnhill and Bud Walton Arenas, and everywhere else, I will cherish all my life. These memories were a large part in my happy childhood.
Today on my birthday my ultimate wish is for the continued health and happiness of my two year old daughter Taylor. She already has the fire I do when saying Woo Pig Sooie and Go Razorbacks! I hope she enjoys the times cheering for great Razorback teams in the future the same way I have been able to past and present.
My birthday wish today for Arkansas Razorback basketball is simple: it is that they enjoy another 28 years as good as the last.
If that comes true than Arkansas basketball will be memorable for fans for years to come.