Emanuel “Book” Richardson is the prototype of a basketball teammate. As a player for the Pitt-Johnstown Mountain Cats, he set the school's career record for assists. And, as an assistant coach for the Arizona Wildcats, Richardson’s ability to recruit has made his team a regular in in the NCAA tournament's March Madness.
Richardson led NCAA Division II in assists per game in 1996-97 and helped the Mountain Cats advance to the school's first two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Throughout his eight seasons at the University of Arizona, Richardson has firmly established himself as one of the finest recruiters in college basketball. Richardson joined the Arizona basketball family in the spring of 2009, and is currently in his 10th season as a member of former Pitt guard and head coach Sean Miller’s staff.
His efforts in building and strengthening UA’s recruiting ties across the country has helped Arizona land top-10 recruiting classes in each of the last six years, including four top-five classes during that period of time.
As a Pitt-Johnstown junior, Richardson's 8.7 assists per game led the nation. The following season, he dished out a school-record 260 assists, including 17 against Edinboro University on February 15, 1998, a record that still stands today.
"Book was the best leader that I ever coached, both on and off the floor," said Bob Rukavina, Pitt-Johnstown men's basketball coach since 1989. "He was well-liked by everyone on campus. Even the cafeteria workers loved him. He was – and still is – a very charismatic guy.
"That's why he has been so successful in recruiting and coaching. He is a unique individual."
A 1998 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and management, Richardson’s coaching career began at his alma mater as the associate head coach in 1999. He helped lead the Division II Mountain Cats to a 23-4 record, the best in school history.
A native of the Bronx, N.Y., Richardson and his wife, Erin, have three children, daughters Chassidy and Sere, and son E.J.
He was inducted into Pitt-Johnstown’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Appropriately, Richardson's induction speech expressed his gratitude for the many assists he’s received.
“To be inducted into any Hall of Fame is an incredible honor, but to be inducted into my University’s Hall of Fame is a dream come true, thank you God,” Richardson said.
“Of course none of this would be possible without my parents, biological and the ones that I’ve picked up through life. Thanks to my biological mom, Sylvia Daniels, and my surrogate moms Donna Vickroy and Ms. Betty Mae Lewis. Thank you to my dads, Gary Decesare, Bob Rukavina, and Ron Vickroy.
“I would also love to thank my loving and supporting wife Erin for showing me what true hard work, love, and dedication is. Actually thank you to all the people that I mentioned for showing me how to be a good human being.
“Thank you to Pitt-Johnstown for helping me grow up, and thank you for allowing me to always be a Mountain Cat!”
Richardson spent two seasons at Xavier (2007-09) before his arrival in Tucson, helping guide the Musketeers to 57 wins, two conference titles and a pair of deep NCAA Tournament runs. XU posted a school-record 30 wins and advanced to the Elite Eight in his first season on the bench.
Prior to his tenure at Xavier, Richardson was the Director of Basketball for the New York Gauchos/Teamwork Foundation in the Bronx from 2005-07. He also served as an assistant coach at St. Raymond’s High School for Boys in 2004 and was the head coach for ninth and 10th-grade players in the New York Gauchos system in 2003.
Richardson’s U-18 red team captured the gold medal at the 2007 USA Basketball Men’s Youth Development Festival, making him the youngest coach ever to win the event, and the first AAU coach to be selected by USA Basketball as a festival head coach.
Richardson was an assistant coach at Marist College in 2004-05, where he coordinated the Red Foxes’ recruiting, scouting and individual workouts, focusing on guard play and offensive skill development. He spent three seasons as an assistant at Monroe College, an NJCAA program in the Bronx. His 2002-03 team went 31-3, won the Region 15 and District 3 titles and finished fifth at the NJCAA national tournament.