Book Richardson

Former UA basketball assistant Book Richardson was emotional Tuesday when he told a judge he knew he broke the law.

Indicted Arizona assistant basketball coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson collected more than $72,000 from the UA over nearly four months after being arrested on federal bribery charges. 

Richardson was formally fired Jan. 11, more than 15 weeks after he was suspended with pay amid allegations that he paid a recruit to verbally commit to the Wildcats.  

Richardson was put on paid leave on Sept. 26, the day he was arrested as part of an FBI sting into illegal payments in college basketball. The next day, UA president Robert C. Robbins said he'd ordered an independent investigation into Richardson and that the school had begun the process of firing him.

Richardson appealed Robbins' first decision to fire him, which Robbins denied, said Richardson's Tucson-based attorney, Brick Storts.

"The next step is, if Mr. Richardson makes a decision as to whether or not he wants to file in (Pima County) Superior Court, to seek relief there," Storts said, adding that Richardson has 35 days from the Jan. 11 notice in which to file.

"That's the status at this point as to what's to be done, but there are a lot of other things that are involved that are of course more important than that, and that's the criminal case," Storts said.

Arizona promoted Austin Carroll to an on-court role to replace Richardson, although Carroll's title — assistant director of basketball operations — has not changed. 

Richardson made $250,000 annually as Sean Miller's longest-serving assistant coach, and continued to collect on his salary even after his arrest. Richardson was technically a "service professional" at the UA, and university policy gives every service professional a chance to respond before being fired. As a result, Richardson was paid for nearly four months while awaiting his due process.

“Just cause is required to dismiss a service professional employee,” states section 4c.4.02 of UA’s Handbook for Appointed Personnel. “Dismissal will not occur until such employee has been given an opportunity for a pre-dismissal meeting and a just cause hearing.”

UA’s handbook also says a service employee “may be suspended with pay for reasons that are in the best interests of the University, the Board, or the employee, as determined by the President.”

Richardson is accused of taking $20,000 from a sports agents and paying at least one recruit to commit to the UA. He's facing up to 60 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. He has a pre-trial conference scheduled in New York district court on Feb. 15. 

In the criminal case, Richardson is being represented by attorneys David Axelrod and Craig Mordock. Richardson is one of four prominent college basketball coaches implicated in the federal case.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at or 573-4191