Dent sentenced under plea agreement

Updated: October 31, 2003, 9:30 AM ET
Associated Press

BRYAN, Texas -- The author of a best-selling book about former Texas A&M football coach Bear Bryant's demanding 1954 training camp has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a probation violation.

Jim Dent, author of "The Junction Boys," was sentenced Thursday under a plea agreement with prosecutors. He could have faced up to 10 years in prison.

Dent, who was accused of violating his probation for a drunken-driving conviction, was at large for about a year before he was caught in Las Vegas in June.

"I've done some bad things, and pride has gotten in the way in past years," he told state District Judge Rick Davis, vowing not to drink alcohol again. "I plan to get straightened out."

Dent was arrested in Brazos County for felony drunken driving in 1999 and was sentenced in 2002 to 10 years probation. He served 40 days of the probation sentence in jail. The day after his release, he was pulled over in Oklahoma City on suspicion of drunken driving.

Dent failed to make his court appearance and did not report the arrest to his probation officers.

Police caught up with him months later in Arkansas, after Texas authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. He fled again after an Arkansas judge reduced his bail from $1 million to $5,000.

Las Vegas authorities finally arrested Dent on June 12 after the author again was pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving.

"It's a sad situation," his attorney, Jim James, told the Bryan-College Station Eagle for a story in Friday's editions. "Jim is a very bright man, a very talented man, and I think he has recognized his problem."

"The Junction Boys" chronicled the experience of more than 100 football players who traveled in 1954 to the West Texas town of Junction with Bryant for late-summer training away from campus distractions. When camp ended 10 days later, fewer than three dozen remained to wear the Aggies' jerseys.

The book became a New York Times best-seller and was turned into an ESPN movie. Dent authored "King of the Cowboys," a biography on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and "The Undefeated" about Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma Sooners. He also co-authored former American League umpire Durwood Merrill's memoirs, "You're Out and You're Ugly, Too!"

Before turning to books, Dent was an award-winning sports journalist for the San Antonio Express-News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Times Herald.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press