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Nolan Richardson sues the University of Arkansas

Old 12-19-02, 11:44 PM
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Nolan Richardson sues the University of Arkansas

He won't let it go What a load of BS filling suit claiming he was fired because he's black, {sarcasm]Yeah that makes a lot t sense since the new coach is black as well[/sarcasm off] Dang he'll either go broke filing suits or bring the whole University down with him.
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Old 12-20-02, 12:23 PM
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Yeah, major college programs will be just beating down his door to hire him now.
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Old 12-20-02, 01:05 PM
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Didn't U of Ark buy out his contract to the tune of several million???
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Old 12-20-02, 01:09 PM
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Nolan Richardson is ignorant if he thinks that he can badmouth his job and then expect to stay. If I went public and talked about my job like he talked about his, I'd be out of a job also.

And yes, he got $3 million to buy out the remaining 6 years of his deal.
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Old 12-20-02, 03:58 PM
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my favorite part is his claim that the ouster amounted to a "high-tech lynching"....what the hell is that? He says he wants what's right and part of the suit is for 'lost wages'....that $3 million didn't cover that?

Now i have no doubt in my mind that racism remains prevalent in the South especially, but this just smacks of someone taking advantage of that sad fact in order to keep himself in the limelight. Why on earth would he want his job back? they'd have to build a separate gym for that chip on his shoulder....

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson sued the university in federal court on Thursday, claiming its chancellor and athletics director violated his free-speech rights and discriminated against him because he is black.

Richardson asked a federal judge to return him to his old job. The current coach, Stan Heath, declined comment.

Richardson told ESPN.com that the intent of the lawsuit isn't to remove Heath and return to coaching the Razorbacks. "How would they do that?'' Richardson told ESPN.com. Richardson said he never asked to be bought out, though, when he was fired last year. "The lawsuit deals with the way it (the firing) happened. It was a high-tech lynching. Now I've got to hire high-tech attorneys. It just gets bigger and bigger.''

Arkansas Chancellor John A. White fired Richardson on March 1 after the longtime basketball coach complained that he was being treated differently because he is black. The former coach said in the lawsuit that he was under tremendous pressure when he said he wanted his contract bought out. The school did buy him out on the remaining six years on his contract, agreeing to pay Richardson up to $3 million over the remaining seasons of what started as a seven-year pact.

"As the season neared completion, the chances for the team to participate in postseason competition were clearly in jeopardy,'' the lawsuit says. "This situation caused pressure and tension for the plaintiff Richardson, a perfectionist, driven to achieve with players and other staff each year, the successful season, which the citizenry of the state had come to expect.'' He said White dismissed him when he tried to set the record straight.

University system lawyer Fred H. Harrison denied Richardson's accusations. "I am confident that the claims asserted by Mr. Richardson ... will be shown to be groundless and without merit,'' Harrison said. "The complaint is simply a one-sided rendering by Mr. Richardson's attorneys of their view of the facts, a view with which the university strongly disagrees.''

The lawsuit also says that Richardson's basketball teams brought national prominence to the university and led donors to make significant financial contributions to the school. Richardson coached the Razorbacks to an NCAA championship in 1994 and the title game in 1995. He was head coach at the Fayetteville campus for 17 years -- until White fired him with one game left in the 2001-2002 regular season. Assistant coach Mike Anderson coached the team for two games, then Arkansas hired Heath from Kent State to take over the team for this year.

Richardson said he had to take this season off from basketball. He said he couldn't listen to the vacant UTEP job in October because he had made personal commitments. "There was no way I could work this year,'' Richardson told ESPN.com. "But there is no question that I can still coach. I'm no old, old guy. I can still do it. But I needed to back away and get my mind and head in the right direction. I have not closed the door to coaching at all.'' Richardson said he's open to coaching in a year in the NBA or in college anywhere in the country.

Richardson is spending the holidays in his native El Paso, watching his son's team, Tennessee State play UTEP, his former assistant Mike Anderson coach UAB against UTEP and spending time with his extended family and former coach Don Haskins.

The lawsuit was filed in Arkansas' eastern federal district, where the University of Arkansas System is based. Richardson coached at Arkansas' Fayetteville campus, in the state's northwestern corner, and still has a ranch there. Richardson wants a federal judge to declare that the university punished him for exercising his freedom of speech and subjected him to racial discrimination in employment -- including retaliation for imposing limitations on future employment elsewhere. In addition to seeking reinstatement, Richardson is seeking lost wage and damages for harm to his reputation, mental and emotional stress, and legal fees.

University lawyer Scott Varady withheld comment. "I haven't seen it or had the opportunity to review it,'' Varady said. "Without having the opportunity to see it, I don't have a comment, yet.'' Richardson claims that his outspokenness on racial discrimination matters as they related to his job and society upset the school, particularly athletics director Frank Broyles, and contributed to his termination. System president B. Alan Sugg upheld White's decision to fire Richardson, agreeing with the chancellor's decision that a change was necessary.

In 22 years as a head coach, including five years at Tulsa, Richardson finished his Arkansas tenure with a 509-205 record while at NCAA Division I schools. He had led the Razorbacks to the postseason in all but one of his 16 previous seasons. Arkansas made the NCAA Tournament 15 times. At Tulsa and Western Texas Junior College, he won NIT and national junior college titles. His Arkansas teams won five conference championships -- three in the Southwest Conference and two in the SEC. The Razorbacks also won three SWC tournaments and one SEC tournament.

But Richardson was often controversial. Amid a flap with Broyles in 2000, guard Jason Gilbert, who is white, quit the team after being labeled by assistant coach Nolan Richardson Jr. as "part of the problem'' with the team. In 1995, Richardson called critics a pair of crude names after his team, the defending national champion, lost to Alabama and fell to 15-4. Arkansas was ranked No. 9 at the time. In a New York Daily News article on the difficulties of being a black coach in the South, Richardson said in 1994 that, "If I was white and I did what I've done here, they'd build statues to me. ... Eddie Sutton did the same thing here and he became God.''

Remarks in the spring that he is treated differently because he is black drew the chancellor's attention after they were aired on national television. He said at a February news conference that he was not answerable to fans or to the media, but his agent said later the remarks were directed at the small percentage of hard-to-please Razorback supporters. A week earlier, he had raised the possibility of a buyout. In discussing pressure on him and Kentucky coach Tubby Smith, who also is black, Richardson said: "If they go ahead and pay me my money, they can take the job tomorrow.''

Heath, whose first team at Arkansas is 3-4, had no comment. "We're going to have officials at the university that are going to comment on that,'' Heath said after practice Thursday.
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Old 12-20-02, 04:07 PM
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I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the talent level he's brought in there has decreased and thus the amount of wins hes produced had nothing to do with it alot since the NC year. The Arkansas team this year is not that talented and it showed no sign of getting better.

His claim of racism is stupid when you consider they replaced him with a black coach. The fact is Heath has got a great class coming in next year and is in on alot of the Jr. talent this year. Arkansas made the right move.
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