Missouri football coach Pinkel apologizes for DWI arrest

Monday, November 21, 2011 | 6:54 p.m. CST; updated 8:53 p.m. CST, Monday, November 21, 2011
Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel talks to the press Monday at his lawyer's office after his drunken-driving arrest and guilty plea.

COLUMBIA — In his 59 years, Gary Pinkel cannot remember ever hurting his family, friends or team.

Last week, he did.


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Pinkel, head coach of the Missouri football team, was arrested for driving while intoxicated Wednesday night. He pleaded guilty to the Class B misdemeanor charge on Friday morning.

Speaking to media at the law office of Holder-Susan-Slusher-Oxenhandler on Monday afternoon, Pinkel called his mistake "one of the most devastating things" that had ever happened to him. In his attempt to be a positive role model, Pinkel said he failed miserably.

"I got to live with it," Pinkel said.

Pinkel was pulled over around 10 p.m. Wednesday for not using proper lane and signal violations as he exited U.S. 63 onto Broadway. Pinkel received a 30-day suspended sentence, which means he will serve 30 days in jail if he violates a two-year probation.

"This will never ever happen again," he said. "You don't drink and drive. Gary Pinkel shouldn't, and nobody should."

Bogdan Susan, Pinkel's attorney, said he does not have access to the results of Pinkel's blood alcohol content test results.


"When someone has pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility, that renders that evidence moot and irrelevant," said Susan, who spoke after him.


Pinkel called the support he received in the aftermath of his arrest phenomenal, but he also said he understands those who are less forgiving. Asked what he thought of the public attention his arrest garnered, Pinkel said he recognizes that, as a public figure, he is responsible.

"I know this, OK?" he said. "We know if you make a mistake, it's going to be publicized nationally, and I have no problem with that at all. That's part of my failure."

Pinkel was suspended for one week from MU facilities, including Missouri's Senior Day game against Texas Tech on Saturday. Before leaving the facilities Thursday, he addressed the seniors on the team, which he said was one of the most difficult things he's ever had to do.

On Saturday, he watched the game from his condominium at Lake of the Ozarks with friends. He said every play felt like the last of a close game. In fact, the Tigers didn't secure a 31-27 victory until the final minute, when defensive end Michael Sam intercepted a pass yards away from the Missouri end zone.

"It was gut-wrenching," Pinkel said. "It was very emotional for me. Saw the team play the first quarter, and we obviously weren't focused. And that's me, I put them there. I had to live with that burden.

"If we don't win that game, I don't know, uh … I'd have to live with that the rest of my life. I'm very thankful to them."

Pinkel is allowed to return to team facilities on Thursday morning and will coach when Missouri plays its rivalry game against Kansas on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

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Russell Barclay November 21, 2011 | 7:23 p.m.

Just win, baby.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis November 22, 2011 | 2:53 p.m.

I still don't get it! This was a mistake so many people have made. I can't believe how harshly they punished him it's insane! He said sorry how many times and ways do they want him to say it? I'm sorry his team had to go the senior game without him that was not fair to punish them like that. Just know if you ever need a ride home Coach you can ask anybody who lives in Columbia, any of us would be happy to take you! Now good luck on the Kansas game. Go Tigers!

(Report Comment)
Steve Baumann November 22, 2011 | 6:11 p.m.

His blood alcohol content test results should be made public.
No question about it, unless he really has something to hide.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis November 23, 2011 | 8:16 a.m.

@ Steve the sample was destroyed when he admitted guilt as with anyone else. Why is the number even relevant? If he can stand up and say YES I did it why would it matter what the number says? Now let's see if anyone can answer that without "because I wanna know".

(Report Comment)

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