The Arizona Wildcats basketball team, which began practice for the 2013-14 season on Friday, will be without assistant coach Book Richardson indefinitely.
Richardson, 40, is stepping away for health reasons, the school announced Friday night.
“This is not a life or death situation, but nonetheless very important,” Richardson said in a 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. I want to thank Coach Miller, the Arizona basketball family and the athletic department for allowing me this opportunity. I look forward to returning to the Arizona basketball program.”
Richardson, noted as an excellent recruiter, especially in the East, where he has long-standing connections, has been with coach Sean Miller for the past six seasons. Richardson spent two years on Miller’s staff at Xavier before joining him at Arizona.
Richardson begins an absence amid a big recruiting push for the Wildcats toward the fall signing period.
“We support Coach Richardson’s decision to take some time off from his coaching duties,” Miller said in a statement. “What’s most important at this time is that he takes care of himself. 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.”
Richardson and his wife, Erin, have three children — daughters Chassidy and Sere, and son E.J.
Joe Pasternack is the team’s associate head coach. Former UA All-American Damon Stoudamire is in his first season as a graduate assistant, and ex-Cat Joseph Blair is helping with the big men as a volunteer undergraduate assistant coach.