Mizzou suspends Pinkel 1 game after DWI arrest

By Alan Scher Zagier

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Nov. 17 2011 3:52 p.m. MST

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri suspended coach Gary Pinkel for the final home game of the season Thursday and froze his salary for a year following his overnight arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

Athletic director Mike Alden said Pinkel would miss Saturday's game against Texas Tech and the coach will donate a week's worth of his salary to a campus alcohol-awareness program when he returns.

The disciplinary measures include a total of approximately $300,000 in penalties and 50 hours of community service by next summer. If the Tigers make it to a bowl game, Pinkel won't get a bonus.

Boone County Sheriff's Office records show that deputies pulled Pinkel over in Columbia, Mo., and jailed him Wednesday night on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. He was released from the county jail after posting a $500 bond.

The sheriff's department said the incident is Pinkel's first offense. A county prosecutor said that no decision had been made about filing formal criminal charges.

In a written statement, Pinkel said he "accept(s) full responsibility for my actions and will abide by whatever course of action our leadership deems appropriate." The coach, who did not attend Alden's news conference, said he was stopped by deputies after a post-practice dinner with friends.

"First and foremost, I am very disappointed in myself for my lack of judgment in this instance," Pinkel said. "Nobody should drink and drive, including me. My staff and I constantly reinforce with each of our players the importance of not putting yourself into a position such as this. I did not follow that here and for that, I sincerely apologize to the University of Missouri, to our administration, to the Board of Curators and to our fans."

Pinkel is in his 11th season with the Tigers. He is 82-54 overall, including three 10-win seasons in the last four years and six consecutive bowl game appearances. After Texas Tech, Missouri (5-5) faces Kansas next week in Kansas City in what is likely the school's final Big 12 Conference game before it moves to the Southeastern Conference.

Pinkel said he has met with his coaching staff about the incident and apologized to his players.

Alden said he was "extremely disappointed in Gary's lack of judgment" but also called the coach a "man of great character and integrity."

"This absolutely goes against everything we stand for, and everything that he teaches his players in regards to our social responsibilities," he said. "We hold ourselves to very high standards, and this is a very serious breach of those responsibilities."

Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton issued his own statement criticizing Pinkel's "lack of judgment" — a day after Deaton told a meeting of Missouri professors that alcohol abuse among students is a growing problem on campus.

"Coaches must hold themselves to the very highest of standards," Deaton said. "I was deeply disappointed to hear the news about coach Pinkel."

In April, Pinkel received a two-year contract extension through the 2017 season. He earns a guaranteed annual salary of $2.35 million. His teams have largely avoided off-field trouble, although two players and assistant coach Bruce Walker were arrested on alcohol-related charges in August 2010.

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