Missouri football coach Pinkel suspended for one week after arrest

Thursday, November 17, 2011 | 6:30 p.m. CST; updated 11:14 p.m. CST, Thursday, November 17, 2011
Athletics Director Mike Alden speaks Thursday at Mizzou Arena during the news conference regarding Gary Pinkel's arrest. Alden announced that Pinkel has been suspended for one week without pay.

COLUMBIA — Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel left the Missouri Athletic Training Complex around 2:45 p.m. Thursday, according to Athletics Director Mike Alden.

He won’t be back until Nov. 24.


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Alden announced that Pinkel has been suspended for one week without pay after being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Wednesday night. Defensive Coordinator Dave Steckel will be the acting head coach for Saturday’s game against Texas Tech.

Pinkel will also forfeit numerous incentives, including his potential bowl bonus, and will donate one week of salary and guaranteed incentives to the MU Wellness Resource Center.

According to the Athletic Department, Pinkel stands to lose a guaranteed $231,538 from the suspension and donation. His bowl bonus would be $75,000; so if the Tigers win one of their final two games, Pinkel’s total financial hit grows to $306,538.

Alden also said that Pinkel will perform 50 hours of community service by June 30, 2012, and that his salary will be frozen for one year. Pinkel will also have a letter of reprimand placed in his university personnel file.

“There’s no question we’re extremely disappointed in Gary’s lack of judgment,” Alden said at a press conference Thursday. “This absolutely goes against everything we stand for and everything he teaches his players in regards to our social responsibilities.”

Maj. Tom Reddin of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said Pinkel was pulled over in his Chevy Avalanche by sheriff’s deputies at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday on Keene Street just north of Broadway for lane and signal violations.

Reddin said evidence was collected showing alcohol was involved, and Pinkel was taken into custody. Reddin said Pinkel was very cooperative while in custody.

“I deeply regret the negative attention this has brought to the University of Missouri,” Pinkel said in a news release Thursday. “I offer my sincere apology to everyone associated with this institution.”

Alden said he found out about the incident around 6:45 a.m., when he saw he had received a message from Pinkel several hours prior. Alden said he leaves his cellphone in his pickup truck at night and does not look at it until after he works out each morning.

He and Pinkel met three times today to discuss the arrest, and Alden met with MU Chancellor Brady Deaton around 11:45 this morning to discuss the consequences of the arrest. At 2:45 p.m., Alden said Pinkel met with his team to inform them of his suspension. Alden met with the team afterward.

“I would be the person that makes that recommendation,” Alden said of the decision to suspend Pinkel. “Ultimately that would be me that would go to Dr. Deaton.”

Another decision Alden made was not to have Pinkel speak at Thursday’s press conference. Pinkel will issue a letter of public apology in the “not-too-distant future,” Alden said.

“I don’t think it’s necessary for coach Pinkel to stand up and answer these questions. It’s important for me to do that at this time because of the consequences he has created for us,” Alden said. “It’s my responsibility as director of athletics to speak on behalf of department. I made the decision of coach Pinkel not being here today.”

Pinkel will not be involved with the program in any way until Thanksgiving morning. He will not be involved with any of the game-planning or coaching and will not be at the Missouri Athletics Training Complex during the week or at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, despite the fact that it’s the team’s senior day.

The one-week suspension is less than what was handed down to Will Ebner, Beau Brinkley and Jimmy Burge, three players that were arrested on similar charges in 2010. Those players were suspended for two games each.

When asked if the rivalry game with Kansas in two weeks affected his decision, Alden responded flatly, “No.”

Alden said that he felt the department could take a “comprehensive” approach in determining the consequences for Pinkel’s arrest.

“I think the issues we try to deal with, we don’t deal with them in a cookie cutter approach. Those issues dealt with a year and a half ago are different from this issue we’re talking about now. I think our ability to look at this in a comprehensive fashion gave us a little more latitude,” Alden said.

On Aug. 2, 2010, co-offensive line coach Bruce Walker was arrested on suspicion of DWI while sitting in his car outside the Missouri Athletics Training Complex. He was hit with “undisclosed team sanctions” but no suspension.

Head football coach Woody Widenhofer was arrested and pled guilty to DWI in 1987, but he did not miss any games. Widenhofer was fined $500.

Alden did say that it was Pinkel’s request to donate the salary to the Wellness Resource Center, MU’s program that deals with alcohol, tobacco and other substance use. The total amount of that donation is expected to be $40,769, according to the Athletics Department.

“For his thoughts, our thoughts collectively, we thought that would be a perfect place to donate those types of dollars,” Alden said

Pinkel posted a $500 bond and was released Wednesday night, according to Reddin. The investigation was still ongoing, and as of 5 p.m. Thursday, charges had yet to be filed to the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney.

Once charges are filed, more details regarding the arrest itself are likely to become available.

Pinkel’s arrest was not found on the Boone County Sheriff Department’s regular 7:00 a.m. arrest record until around 9 a.m. Reddin said this was because of a "hiccup" that happens when information is posted around midnight. Reddin said the computer gets confused about where to put the information, so it doesn't show up.


Missourian Reporter Julianne Hilmes contributed to this report

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