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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Missouri Suspends Football Coach

COLUMBIA, Mo. (CN) - University of Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel was suspended without pay for one game after he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

Pinkel will miss Missouri's Saturday game against Texas Tech. He also will perform 50 hours of community service and his pay - which is $2.35 million a year - will be frozen for a year, so if Missouri makes a bowl game he would get no bonus, which would have been about $306,000.

Pinkel also will donate a week's pay to the university's Wellness Center, a campus organization devoted to creating an environment that promotes healthy decision-making about drugs and alcohol.

A Boone County deputy stopped Pinkel, 59, in downtown Columbia around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday for lane and signal violations, Boone County Sheriff's Major Tom Reddin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Pinkel cooperated with the deputy and was booked at the Boone County Jail. He posted $500 bail and was released. It was his first offense.

Reddin did not comment on whether Pinkel agreed to a breath or blood test and said the case would be presented to prosecutors.

"Last night after practice, I met some friends for dinner," Pinkel said in a statement. "After dinner, I was stopped by a Boone County officer and received a citation for impaired driving. First and foremost, I am very disappointed in myself for my lack of judgment in this instance. 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. I have already met with our staff and communicated with our players and have apologized to them. I accept full responsibility for my actions and will abide by whatever course of action our leadership deems appropriate."

Pinkel's strict and swift punishment is in line with his own no-nonsense attitude with his players and coaches. Missouri players Will Ebner and Beau Brinkley each sat out two games after being arrested on similar charges last year. Those charges came weeks after Missouri assistant coach Bruce Walker was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Walker was given undisclosed, stiff internal penalties, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Pinkel dismissed then-co-captain Derrick Washington from the team before the 2010 season after he was accused of sexually assaulting a tutor. Washington, a Kansas City prep star, led the Tigers in rushing his sophomore and junior years. He was found guilty of the assault by a Boone County jury in September.

Missouri has struggled to a 5-5 start this season, but is coming off a 17-5 win over No. 16 Texas last Saturday.

Pinkel is in his 11th season as Missouri coach. He raised a downtrodden program into a Top-25 power, leading the Tigers to a school-record six consecutive bowls and 40 wins in the past four seasons - the ninth-most wins in the nation during that time. In 2007, Missouri briefly was ranked No. 1 in the country under Pinkel.

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