Friday, January 10, 2003
NASHVILLE --- Hosea Lewis will continue to serve as interim men's basketball coach at Tennessee State University. Lewis' appointment comes from the resignation of head coach Nolan Richardson, III who officially resigned as the Tigers' basketball coach Thursday (Jan. 9). Lewis has been serving as the team's acting head coach since Dec. 26when Richardson was suspended by the university Dec. 26 for violation of a university policy. A press conference was held at the university on Friday, Jan. 10 which features comments from Mr. Gerald Washington, vice-president University Relations and Development, and Mrs. Teresa Lawrence Phillips, TSU Director of Athletics. Remarks: Mr. Gerald Washington Vice President, University Relations and Development Good afternoon, everyone. Let me again thank you for your time and presence today. I want to say a few words about TSU and our overall mission. Tennessee State University is an academic institution with an appreciation for athletics. We have nearly 9,000 students, and we offer 70 academic degrees on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our research dollars rank us number two in the TBR system and number three in the state among public colleges with funds totaling nearly $41 million dollars. Please know athletics is very important to the institution. It impacts recruitment, fundraising, and imaging. We are indeed proud of our student athletes and strive to give them numerous opportunities to succeed. On behalf of my colleagues in the administration, I am pleased to state that we have an unyielding and uncompromising support for our athletics director, Teresa Phillips, and her leadership. We know the incident involving Nolan Richardson is regrettable; however, we have every confidence that Mrs. Phillips will continue to move the department forward. We also want our student athletes to continue to work hard and continue to receive the support of the community--because they are our overall concern. At TSU we are more than a university or even a community; we are a family. And, as in any family, sometimes mistakes occur. We have to correct them and move forward. That is what we will do in this case. We will move forward. MRS. TERESA LAWRENCE PHILLIPS Athletics Director Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today. As you know, Nolan Richardson, III, has resigned his position as men's basketball head coach, effective Thursday, January 9. President James Hefner has accepted his resignation. Coach Richardson was suspended on December 26, following an altercation on campus, pending termination-disciplinary hearings. Since he has resigned, no hearing concerning the altercation will take place. Former assistant head coach Hosea Lewis will continue to serve as interim head coach. Please know that our main concern is for our students. We want them to attend TSU, do well, and become successful alumni who will support the institution. We empathize with the Richardson family; we know this can only be a difficult time for them. We wish them well. And we want to thank the community, including former and current athletes, supporters, and friends who have expressed an interest and concern for us. We are working our way through this and with help from everyone we will come out strong.