Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson has taken a health-related indefinite leave from the Wildcats.
The school announced his departure Friday evening but a spokesman offered no specifics on how long Richardson might be out nor if he would be replaced on a temporary basis.
Attempts to reach Richardson were unsuccessful.
“This is not a life or death situation, but nonetheless very important,” Richardson said in a UA statement. “I am very appreciative to be given the flexibility to temporarily step away from coaching and basketball, and to concentrate on my well-being.”
The absence of Richardson hit the Wildcats not only just as full-length practices started Friday but also comes in the middle of the critical fall recruiting season, when top recruiting targets host coaches at their homes and visit campuses. A former travel-ball coach in New York, Richardson is the Wildcats’ key recruiter on the East Coast.
Richardson, 40, has worked under Miller for the past six seasons, including two at Xavier before Miller took over the Wildcats’ program. A 1989 graduate of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Richardson has also coached at several levels in the East.
In UA’s statement, he thanked UA coach Sean Miller, the basketball program and UA for allowing him to leave, and said “I look forward to returning to the Arizona basketball program.”
Miller said he supported Richardson’s decision.
“What’s most important at this time is that he takes care of himself,” Miller said in UA’s statement. “We will miss his contribution to our program, but giving him time away is the best thing we can do to help. We look forward to his return.”