Willard pleads guilty to DUI

Updated: January 20, 2004, 4:13 PM ET
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville assistant Kevin Willard pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence of alcohol, but he will remain on coach Rick Pitino's staff.

Willard, pulled over by Louisville police early Sunday morning, failed two sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol level of .146, police said. Kentucky's legal limit for DUI is .08.

Pitino said Willard was disciplined internally, but declined to be more specific.

"I've already dealt with it," Pitino said Tuesday. "It is unfortunate. There is a silver lining in every cloud, and the silver lining in this cloud is that a tremendous error in judgment was made, but nobody got hurt. That doesn't diminish the severity of what he did. Kevin knows he made a big mistake. He's extremely remorseful."

The 13-1 Cardinals (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) host unbeaten Cincinnati (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) on Wednesday.

Willard did not appear in court Tuesday. His attorney, Bart Adams, entered his plea.

The assistant coach will pay a $200 fine, plus court costs, lose his driver's license for 30 days and undergo alcohol counseling, said Bill Patteson, a spokesman for the Jefferson County attorney's office. It was Willard's first DUI offense.

Willard is the son of Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard, who was Pitino's assistant for two seasons with the New York Knicks and for one season at Kentucky.

Kevin Willard worked as an assistant for Pitino with the Boston Celtics from 1997-2001 and followed Pitino to Louisville in April 2001.

"Even though he is like a son to me, he has been seriously reprimanded," Pitino said. "A lot of consequences are going to be paid for this, but it's a lesson for everybody."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press