Richardson does not have contract with Panama

Updated: August 2, 2005, 6:43 PM ET
Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK -- Panama's top basketball official says former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson does not have a contract to coach that country's national team, according to Panamanian reports.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press on Tuesday, the secretary general of the Panamanian Basketball Federation said federation president Miguel Sanchiz' position on Richardson's hiring was contained in an article in Tuesday's edition of Panama's Critica en Linea.

In that report, Sanchiz said in Spanish: "There have been conversations [with Richardson], but nothing official yet."

He went on to say that the federation's governing board still needs to discuss the Richardson situation and it's still possible for the former NCAA champion coach at Arkansas to lead the Panamanian squad.

Richardson's lawyer, John Walker, said last week that Richardson was on his way to Panama to coach the team in the Bolivarian Games and the FIBA Americas championship tournaments this month. Hernan Hernandez, the secretary general of the sport's governing body in Panama, told The Associated Press at the time that he didn't have details about Richardson's employment.

Walker was not immediately available for comment Tuesday, his office said.

Sanchiz returned Monday night from a tournament in Venezuela and addressed U.S. reports of Richardson's hiring. He said that for now, Enrique Grenald is running the team.

In the newspaper report, Sanchiz also said the federation doesn't have enough money to pay Richardson. Walker has said Richardson was expecting to receive only living expenses.

The Panamanian team begins practicing Wednesday for the Aug. 12-21 Bolivarian Games in Colombia. The Tournament of the Americas begins Aug. 24 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Panama is in the same group as the United States, Canada and Brazil in that qualifying tournament for the 2006 World Championships.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press