Peters has 'total authority' during Huggins' absence

Updated: June 14, 2004, 8:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CINCINNATI -- Bob Huggins' top assistant will coach the Cincinnati basketball team during the head coach's indefinite suspension following an arrest for drunken driving.

Interim coach Dan Peters will "have total authority with no outside interference to run the basketball program," athletic director Bob Goin said in a statement Monday.

Huggins was placed on indefinite, paid suspension Saturday following his arrest the evening of June 8. The arrest report said Huggins failed a sobriety test and had vomit on the inside of his car.

Huggins apologized over the weekend and promised to do whatever is asked of him so he can return to coaching. Goin declined to set a length for the suspension, saying Huggins could return once the athletic director feels he's ready.

Goin equated Huggins' suspension to a sabbatical that will give him time to examine his life. Huggins, 50, had a massive heart attack while recruiting 21 months ago and his mother died from cancer last year, but he has not taken any significant time off from coaching.

Peters, 49, has been on Huggins' staff the past five years, working the last two as associate head coach.

"I plan to continue to build on the tradition of excellence that has been established here," Peters said. "We expect UC basketball having another banner season, one in which we compete for a conference championship and postseason play."

Peters said that he was going to rely on help from others.

"We're going to ask everybody to do a little bit more," he said. "I think we all need to step forward, including our administration, to keep this program at the level that it's at."

Huggins' case is pending. His lawyer, Richard Katz, said he was not sure if Huggins would attend a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

The school also released a statement Monday saying that its investigation showed that no NCAA rules were violated in Huggins' visit with a recruit last Tuesday.

In the arrest report, an officer said that Huggins told officers that he had been talking to recruits and drank beer with a recruit's family.

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, a source told ESPN.com's AndyKatz.

"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]."

Cincinnati said Monday that an investigation by its athletics department confirmed that all aspects of the recruit's visit occurred on campus and that all expenses for the visit were paid by the prospect's family, as required by NCAA rules.

ALSO SEE