U of A loses last-ditch attempt to avoid Richardson case

(May 4, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- A federal judge has denied the University of Arkansas' final request to dismiss former basketball coach Nolan Richardson's lawsuit against the school. The denial clears the way for Richardson's non-jury trial against the university, its leaders and the Razorback Foundation. Trial is to begin tomorrow before U-S District Judge William Wilson Junior in Little Rock. Richardson wants Wilson to declare that the university punished him for exercising his freedom of speech and subjected him to racial discrimination -- including retaliation for imposing limitations on future employment. Arkansas officials say Richardson was fired because he showed a lack of faith in his program. Richardson was fired March first, 2002. Richardson seeks reinstatement as Arkansas' coach, lost wages and damages for harm to his reputation, mental and emotional stress, and legal fees. However, Richardson has said he wouldn't return if Chancellor John A- White and athletic director Frank Broyles still had their jobs. Richardson's base salary was one-point-zero-three million dollars, and his firing called for a buyout of 500-thousand dollars a year until 2008. He currently receives a monthly check for 41-thousand-667 dollars.