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Former Arizona CBB Coach Book Richardson Says He Has 'Scarlet Letter' After FBI Probe

Adam WellsJune 15, 2022

Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Former Arizona assistant basketball coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson is trying to rebuild his reputation to return to the college game following his three-month stint in jail stemming from the 2017-18 NCAA men's basketball corruption scandal.

Speaking to The Athletic's Seth Davis, Richardson noted he has "a scarlet letter" attached to him but he wants "an opportunity to move on with my life."

In September 2017, Richardson was one of four assistant coaches in college basketball who was arrested as part of a federal investigation into bribery and corruption in the sport.

Auburn's Chuck Person, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans and USC's Anthony Bland were also arrested. All four coaches were accused of taking bribes between $13,000 to $100,000 to steer athletes to managers and funnel payoffs to players' families in order to ensure they signed with particular schools.

In June 2019, Richardson was sentenced to three months in prison and two years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to a federal funds bribery charge.

Per ESPN's Mark Schlabach, FBI wiretaps intercepted conversations between Christian Dawkins, who was connected to a sports agency implicated in the scandal, and then-Arizona head coach Sean Miller.

In the conversations, Miller is heard discussing a $100,000 payment to ensure Deandre Ayton signed to play basketball for the Wildcats.

Evans also received a three-month prison sentence, and Dawkins received a prison sentence of one year and one day. Bland was placed on two years' probation.

The University of Arizona fired Richardson in January 2018. He hasn't been given another college job since being released from jail on Oct. 15, 2019.

According to Davis, Richardson expressed frustration that Miller, who was fired by Arizona in March 2021 and was hired as Xavier's new head coach in March 2022, got another job despite his reported involvement in the scandal.

"I don’t sit next to you as the victim. I’m flawed,” Richardson told Davis. “I’ve asked for forgiveness from God. I’ve asked for forgiveness from the people who I may have hurt. I didn’t just get fired. I was ostracized."

Richardson spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach in college basketball. He had a three-season run at Monroe College from 2001-04. The 46-year-old spent 10 seasons as an assistant on Miller's staff between Xavier (2007-09) and Arizona (2009-17).

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