EWU coach misses game following arrest

Updated: January 2, 2009, 11:06 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Eastern Washington men's basketball coach Kirk Earlywine was arrested late last week on suspicion of drunken driving, The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review reported.

Earlywine, who did not coach EWU in its game against Boise State on Monday, said Thursday that a legal issue prevented him from attending Monday's game, according to the report. The university, in a statement issued during Monday night's game, said Earlywine was not available to coach because he was attending to a "personal matter."

But according to the report, Spokane police said Earlywine was arrested at 1:55 a.m. on Dec. 26 on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was released on bond later that day and was arraigned in municipal court on Monday afternoon.

Speaking to the newspaper from Phoenix, where he rejoined the team Tuesday night for Friday's game against Northern Arizona, Earlywine said he could not discuss the matter in greater detail.

"I wish I could say more, but I can't," he said, according to The Spokesman-Review. "I've got to kind of just work through this issue, and it's going to be a process. And until that process runs its course, I can't say much.

"I do, however, understand the gravity and seriousness of it," Earlywine said, according to the report. "But until the next step of the process takes place, I've got to devote my time and full attention to doing what I love, which is coaching these players and this basketball team."

Earlywine said he was scheduled to appear in court in February. Efforts to reach his attorney for comment were unsuccessful, according to the newspaper.

EWU athletic director Bill Chaves said the university is aware of Earlywine's situation, but said he could not comment further, according to the report.

"We're in the process of addressing it internally right now, and that's where I've got to leave it," Chaves said, according to the report. "It's a personnel issue, as well, which precludes me from further comment."