Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Judge dismisses Richardson’s lawsuit against Arkansas

Little Rock, AR (Sports Network) – A judge has dismissed former Arkansas
basketball coach Nolan Richardson’s racial discrimination lawsuit against the

U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson said there was not enough evidence of
racial bias and said the case was “primarily about wounded pride.”

Richardson was fired on March 1, 2002 after 17 seasons in Fayetteville, then
filed suit later that year claiming the school’s chancellor and athletic
director discriminated against him and violated his free speech rights because
he is black.

Late in a trying 2001-02 season, Richardson lashed out at the school’s
administration during a Sunday, February 24 news conference, saying, “If they
go ahead and pay me my money, they can take the job tomorrow.”

Richardson followed the next day by making racial comments and was fired
within a week. However, he later realized he wanted to stay in Fayetteville
and asked school president B. Alan Sugg to review chancellor John White’s

The university eventually bought out the final six years of Richardson’s
contract and agreed to pay him up to $3 million over the remainder of the
seven-year deal.

Judge Wilson agreed with the university that the decision to fire Richardson
came after the coach’s initial comments, but also said the communication
between the two sides could have been better.

“No one can say for sure, but I am inclined to believe the firing could have
been avoided or postponed considerably if there had been more and better
communication by his supervisors.”

Richardson led the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament 13 times, winning the
national championship in 1994 and taking Arkansas to the title game the
following season. He guided the team into the post-season in 15 of his 17