July 8, 2004--Posted at 6:30 p.m. CDT
PARAGOULD--If you are from Arkansas or follow Arkansas sports at all, you have no doubt heard the controversy surrounding former Arkansas Head Basketball Coach Nolan Richardson.
Richardson was fired on March 1, 2002.
He claimed he was a victim of racial discrimination and sued the University of Arkansas and the Razorback Foundation.
The University of Arkansas says Richardson was fired because he called for the U of A to buy out his contract.
Today Federal Judge William Wilson dismissed the case against the University.
"Well, I'm not particularly surprised. I think the judge ruled wisely, and considered all the facts of the case,"said Jonesboro resident Michael Jarman.
When he was fired, Richardson was under a 7.2 million dollar contract. He was seeking more than 8 million dollars in compensation for back pay, other lost compensation, and two million dollars in damages.
Richardson will get $500, 000 to buy out his contract up through 2008 paid to him by the Razorback Foundation which raises money for the Arkansas Athletic Department.
"You know, Nolan did a great job for the university, and maybe everyone could move forward now,"said Jarman.
"There's a lot of coaches out there that don't get that kind of severance pay. I just really never thought there was a legitimate case there, and I think that in the end the right thing was done,"said Jonesboro native Chris Lutes.
Most folks said it's time to rally behind the Arkansas Razorbacks, and look towards the future.
"I am just glad the whole thing is over, and I am behind Stan Heath and the Razorbacks, and that's why I'm out here today,"said Blytheville resident, Jim Smart.
Everyone has high hopes for current Head Basketball Coach Stan Heath.