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Richardson's suit goes to trial today

By wire services
Published May 5, 2004

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Nolan Richardson gave a hint as to how nasty his court fight against the University of Arkansas might be when school officials asked him to resign the day before firing the basketball coach in 2002.

According to notes athletic director Frank Broyles made after a Feb. 28, 2002, meeting, Richardson told him: "I will destroy you. You will have no legacy. I know enough on you that you will have no legacy when I get through. I will have a better legacy than you will."

Notes from Chancellor John A. White closely mirror Broyles' recollection.

Richardson's suit over his dismissal goes to trial today in federal court after 11/2 years of filings and depositions. A judge on Monday denied a final request by the university to dismiss the suit and on Tuesday declined to release the athletic department's funding arm, the Razorback Foundation, from the suit.

Whether U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson Jr. allows things to get ugly is another matter. Wilson has said he will rule on the relevance of testimony as the trial progresses - and set a 25-minute time limit on opening statements today.

MAJERUS ON TV: Former Utah coach Rick Majerus, who left the school in January because of heart problems, is joining ESPN as an analyst. Majerus, who guided the Utes to the 1998 title game and never had a losing season in 20 years, will be a studio and game commentator.

Ex-Eagle to transfer

TAMPA - Former Brandon High star guard Kiana Robinson has decided to leave NCAA champion Connecticut and will consider a return home to Florida State, Florida or South Florida, her father said.

"As of right now, she's open to what school she's looking at transferring to," Stanley Robinson said, also mentioning Louisiana Tech. "Kiana's a flashy, quick, push-the-ball kind of guard. Geno (Auriemma) runs a structured offense and she felt she needed to move to play her type of game."

The 5-foot-8 freshman, the Times' Hillsborough County player of the year as a junior who graduated from the Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute, appeared in 18 games and averaged 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds for the Huskies.

"The University of Connecticut basketball program is not for everyone," Auriemma said in a statement. "It was in the best interests of everyone involved that Kiana explore her options and go someplace where her abilities can be utilized."

The Huskies' only other freshman, center Liz Sherwood, also will transfer.

COACH CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER: An assistant wrestling coach at Montana State-Northern was charged with attempted murder after police said he tried to push a woman off an apartment balcony while threatening to kill her.

Mike Lane grabbed Sadie Johnson by the neck Saturday and held her 15 feet off the ground, but she wrapped a leg around the balcony's railing, according to the police report.

Lane, 28, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated burglary and two counts of assault for fighting with two men who tried to help Johnson, police said. Bail was set at $75,000.

BASEBALL: Matt Ray singled in two to break a scoreless tie in the sixth, and as host Central Florida beat USF 6-0. Bulls senior Myron Leslie extended his season-long hitting streak to 13.

FOOTBALL: Parents of Colorado players asked school officials for a statement of support for players and coaches amid a scandal over recruiting practices. An independent panel and the state attorney general are investigating allegations the program used sex and alcohol to recruit players.

TRACK: USF's Dayana Octavien was named Conference USA female track athlete of the week for the week ending Sunday. Octavien set three NCAA regional qualifying marks in field events at the Georgia Invitational over the weekend.

- Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.

[Last modified May 5, 2004, 01:00:41]

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