Friday, April 29, 2005
Pannunzio put on paid leave by university
MURRAY, Ky. -- Murray State football coach Joe Pannunzio was
put on paid administrative leave by the school Friday following the
campus arrests of a player and former player on drug trafficking charges.
"Charges of this severity and magnitude demand stepped-up
review of our football program," athletic director Allen Ward
said. "A thorough investigation must continue."
Ron Lane, a junior running back, and Terrence Biggers, a former
wide receiver, were charged with trafficking in a controlled
substance within 1,000 yards of a school and possession of drug
paraphernalia, according to county court officials.
Each pleaded not guilty Friday, and Judge Jeanne Carroll set a
preliminary hearing for Thursday. Ward also suspended Lane from the team.
Lane and Biggers were arrested Thursday by campus police in a
housing area, university spokeswoman Sherry McClain said. The
university banned Lane and Biggers from the campus "given the
serious nature of these charges," the school said.
"The type of behavior described is intolerable," Ward said.
Pannunzio has been the Racers' coach since January 2000 and has
a 28-28 record in five seasons. Murray State finished 7-4 last season.
Lane rushed for 789 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 17
passes for 127 yards last season. Biggers caught 16 passes for 175
yards and quit the squad before spring practice, which ended Sunday.