Coach suspended for drunken driving
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|Sat, 06-12-2004 - 11:42am|
CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins was suspended indefinitely by the school Saturday after he was charged with drunken driving.
Athletic director Bob Goin said the suspension, with pay, will allow Huggins to "update his life priorities" and "address any personal matters he has ignored."
No date was set for Huggins' return, but Goin said he wants the coach back this season.
"I'm placing Bobby on mandatory suspension, completely away from the demands of his job," Goin said.
The 50-year-old coach was arrested Tuesday night. He said Saturday, with tears in his eyes, he made a mistake for which he would "pay deeply."
Goin said the school hasn't decided specifically what Huggins must do to be reinstated or who will run the team in his absence.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz reports that associate head coach Dan Peters and assistant coach Andy Kennedy will assume Huggins' duties on the road in July recruiting and, if he's still out, running practice in the fall. Peters ran practice when Huggins was out with heart attack.
Huggins' arrest is the latest black mark on a program that has been trying to get beyond a series of player arrests and NCAA rules violations in the 1990s that led to probation and a loss of scholarships.
"My intention is do the right things," Huggins said. "My intention is to do everything in my power to meet whatever conditions, whatever I'm asked to do by my superiors.
"I don't have any excuses or any alibis. My wish and my hope is that I can complete and do whatever's asked of me so I can come back and be with my players," he added.
On Friday, Huggins said police in the village of Fairfax treated him fairly when they arrested him. Police released a cruiser video Friday evening showing his field sobriety test.
Police Chief Rick Patterson said it was Huggins' first offense. He could be fined and sentenced to three days in jail. The case will be heard in Fairfax mayor's court.
Huggins' arrest came hours after he and his coaching staff met with recruit Kyle Madsen of Columbus, Ohio, Dublin High School and Madsen's family for an unofficial visit on Cincinnati's campus.
Neil Madsen, Kyle's father, told ESPN.com late Friday night that the family, Huggins and his staff had lunch on campus in the early part of the visit, but only water and soda were consumed. The five-hour meeting ended at 6 p.m., at which time Huggins went out for drinks with staff members, the source told Katz.
"We were back in Columbus by 8 p.m.," Neil Madsen told ESPN.com. "There's no connection, as far as I can tell ."
Huggins had a massive heart attack less than two years ago but didn't miss any time coaching. The Bearcats went 26-7 last season, won a share of Conference USA's regular season title and lost to Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
He was put on a diet and lost weight after the heart attack, which occurred while he was recruiting in Pennsylvania on Sept. 28, 2002. Huggins gained back some weight last season, when he said the most enduring change in his routine was that he got more sleep.
He had slurred speech, red and watery eyes, and there was vomit on the driver's door when his car was stopped for drifting out of its lane late Tuesday, the police report said. When officers pulled Huggins' car over, he said, "Don't do this to me,'' but was cooperative, according to the report by Sgt. Jeff Bronson.
Officers said Huggins told them he had a "couple" of beers. He denied he was under the influence of alcohol.
Officers said Huggins "staggered" out of the car and couldn't keep his balance during the sobriety test.
Asked to recite the alphabet from the letter "E" through "P," Huggins said, "E, F, G, H, I, K, L, N, Z," according to the police report. Asked to count backward from 67 to 54, he counted from 62 to 52, the report said.
Officers tried to give a breath analyzer test, but Huggins couldn't complete it, the report said. He was arrested and brought to the police station, where his wife picked him up, police said.
During Huggins' 15 seasons at Cincinnati, numerous players have been arrested or cited for offenses ranging from domestic violence to punching a police horse. Several were later acquitted or had the charges dropped.
The basketball program came under national scrutiny in 1998 for various NCAA rules infractions that led to a two-year probation. The program also was stripped of scholarships as part of its punishment.
The NCAA concluded there was a lack of institutional control over the program. It found that basketball staff members gave improper favors to players and made misleading statements to investigators.
Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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