Gary Pinkel suspended for Saturday

Updated: November 17, 2011, 11:17 PM ET
Associated Press

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 base salary and guaranteed incentives -- approximately $41,000 -- to a campus alcohol-awareness program when he returns.

The disciplinary measures include a total of approximately $306,000 in penalties and 50 hours of community service by next summer. If the 5-5 Tigers make it to a bowl game, Pinkel won't get the $75,000 bonus his contract stipulates. He forfeits a $100,000 annual payment for meeting certain team academic and social goals. And he loses an automatic $50,000 raise at the end of the year.

"Gary is someone with tremendous character and integrity," Alden said. "He's built something pretty special here at Mizzou over the course of the last 11 years. We do not want one incident certainly to tear down what's taken place. However, this absolutely goes against everything we stand for, and everything that he teaches his players in regard to their social responsibilities."

Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel will lead Missouri this week, assisted by offensive coordinator Dave Yost, according to Alden.

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. The prosecutor's office has up to one year to file charges. Since the case is part of an active investigation, the sheriff's department declined to release additional information, including any preliminary test results of the coach's blood-alcohol content.

Pinkel issued two written statements Thursday. In the first, Pinkel said he "accept(s) full responsibility for my actions and will abide by whatever course of action our leadership deems appropriate."

In the second statement, Pinkel said, "I recognize that I've let everyone down and fully accept the terms of this suspension." The coach, who did not attend Alden's news conference, said he was stopped by deputies after a post-practice dinner with friends.

"Everyone is held accountable in our program for their actions, and I'm no different," he said.

Pinkel is 82-54 overall in his 11th season with the Tigers, including three 10-win seasons in the last pour years and six consecutive bowl game appearances. After Texas Tech, Missouri faces Kansas next week at Arrowhead Stadium 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 also met with the team Thursday.

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.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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