CINCINNATI -- Bob Huggins is getting a second chance.
Embarrassed by Huggins' arrest on a drunken driving charge,
Cincinnati put its basketball coach on indefinite, paid suspension
Saturday so he can get his life in order.
Athletic director Bob Goin declined to fix a length to the
suspension, and held out the possibility Huggins could be back for
next season, which would be his 16th at Cincinnati.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz reports that associate head coach Dan Peters and assistant coach Andy Kennedy will assume Huggins' duties on the road in July recruiting and, if he's still out, running practice in the fall. Peters ran practice when Huggins was out with a heart attack.
"I'm not going to say it's 60 days, 90 days, one year," Goin
said. "When I feel comfortable that he's ready to resume his
responsibilities, then I'll make that recommendation."
For the second time in less than 24 hours, Huggins appeared at a
news conference and, with teary eyes and a halting voice, accepted
responsibility. He said he would do whatever the university asks so
he can return as soon as possible.
"I made a terrible mistake that I will pay deeply for,"
Huggins said. "My intention is to do the right things. My
intention is to do everything in my power to meet whatever
conditions, whatever I'm asked to do by my superiors."
Huggins declined to take questions because his case is pending
in mayors court in suburban Fairfax, where he was arrested Tuesday
night. The arrest report said Huggins failed a sobriety test and
had vomit on the inside of his car.
Goin equated Huggins' suspension to a sabbatical that will give
him time to examine his life. Huggins had a massive heart attack
while recruiting 21 months ago and his mother died from cancer last
year, but he has not taken time off from coaching.
Goin will meet with Huggins before deciding what he must do for
"This will permit him the opportunity to reflect, re-energize
and update his life priorities," Goin said. "It will also let him
address any personal matters which he has ignored."
Huggins will not be allowed to use his university-supplied car or expense account during his indefinite, paid suspension for drunken driving.
The university had already said that Huggins can't go to his
campus office or talk with athletic recruits during his suspension. School president Nancy Zimpher announced more suspension details Wednesday.
She says Huggins cannot participate in the summer basketball
youth camp on the Cincinnati campus. He also will be prohibited from participating in any activities that involve university
reimbursement and will receive only his base salary and benefits.
Huggins also will have no contact with the athletics department
staff during his suspension.
Huggins attorney Richard Katz declined comment.
Huggins' arrest came hours after he and his coaching staff met with recruit Kyle Madsen of Columbus, Ohio, Dublin High School and Madsen's family for an unofficial visit on Cincinnati's campus.
Neil Madsen, Kyle's father, told ESPN.com late Friday night that the family, Huggins and his staff had lunch on campus in the early part of the visit, but only water and soda were consumed. The five-hour meeting ended at 6 p.m., at which time Huggins went out for drinks with staff members, the source told Katz.
"We were back in Columbus by 8 p.m.," Neil Madsen told ESPN.com. "There's no connection, as far as I can tell [between the visit and Huggins' DUI incident]."
Huggins' arrest was the latest black mark on a program with a
history of players getting arrested or suspended for various
infractions, ranging from domestic violence to punching a police
horse. Several have been acquitted or had the charges dropped.
The NCAA put the basketball program on two years' probation in
1998 for various rules violations, and stripped the university of
scholarships as part of its punishment.
The NCAA concluded there was a lack of institutional control
over the program. It found basketball staff members gave improper
favors to players and made misleading statements to investigators.
Huggins' arrest most likely will get the attention of NCAA
investigators. In the arrest report, Sgt. Jeff Bronson said Huggins
told officers he had been talking to recruits and drank beer with a
recruit's family Tuesday.
Huggins informed Goin of his arrest two days later. He also told
Goin he wasn't recruiting, as indicated in the arrest report. Goin
plans to tell the NCAA there were no recruiting violations.
"I think we'll probably be proactive on that and say it was
erroneous," Goin said.
The arrest report said that when Huggins' car was stopped for
drifting out of its lane, he told officers, "Don't do this to
me," but was cooperative.
Huggins had slurred speech, staggered out of his car and
couldn't keep his balance during a field sobriety test, according
to the arrest report. Officers said he couldn't complete a breath
Huggins was taken to the village's police station, where his
wife picked him up. He could be fined and sentenced to three days
in jail on the drunken driving charge.
Huggins won't be allowed in his on-campus office during the
suspension. He also is prohibited from talking to recruits while
suspended, leaving those matters to his staff.
Two players from Huggins' 1992 Final Four team attended the news
conference Saturday and embraced him afterward.
"He believes in this institution," former guard Tarrance
Gibson said. "He doesn't take days off. It's going to hurt him,
just not being here."
Corie Blount, a forward on the Final Four team, said the
basketball program won't necessarily be hurt by the suspension.
"Everybody knows Cincinnati basketball is accustomed to
winning," Blount said. "If we keep that tradition up, we'll be
Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.