June 11, 2004
By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) - Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins apologized to players, friends, his school and the community Friday night for his arrest this week on a drunken driving charge.
"I made a very poor decision that's reflected negatively on the basketball program and the university," Huggins said, fighting tears. "For that, I deeply regret it. I take responsibility for my actions. I'm going to do my part to make sure that something like this will never happen again."
Huggins, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, declined to take questions. His lawyer, Richard Katz, said he could not answer questions because of the legal issues involved.
The university has not commented on Huggins' arrest. Athletic director Bob Goin scheduled a news conference for Saturday.
Village police in Fairfax, just east of Cincinnati, released a police cruiser video showing Huggins' field sobriety test, which police said he failed.
Huggins had slurred speech, and there was vomit on the driver's door when he was stopped, the police report said. His car was towed, the report said, and Huggins' wife came to pick him up from the police station.
Huggins was scheduled to appear Friday night in mayors court in Fairfax, but that was postponed.
Police Chief Rick Patterson said it was Huggins' first offense. He could be fined and sentenced to three days in jail.
Huggins' arrest is the latest black mark on a program that has been trying to get beyond a series of player arrests and NCAA rules violations in the 1990s that led to probation and a loss of scholarships.
Huggins, 50, had a massive heart attack less than two years ago but didn't miss any time coaching. The Bearcats went 26-7 last season, won a share of Conference USA's regular season title and lost to Illinois in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
He was put on a diet and lost weight after the heart attack, which occurred while he was recruiting in Pennsylvania on Sept. 28, 2002. Huggins gained back some weight last season, when he said the most enduring change in his routine was that he got more sleep.
When officers pulled Huggins' car over at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday, he said, "Don't do this to me," but was cooperative, according to the report by Sgt. Jeff Bronson and two other officers.
Officers said Huggins told them he was on his way home after talking to recruits and had a "couple" of beers. He denied that he was under the influence of alcohol.
The report said Huggins was stopped because his car was straying out of its lane, and he sat at a light for 10 seconds after it turned green. Officers noticed vomit on the inside of the driver's side door and reported a strong smell of alcohol, prompting them to administer the field test.
Huggins had slurred speech and red, watery eyes, the report said. Officers said he "staggered" out of the car and couldn't keep his balance during the sobriety test.
Asked to recite the alphabet from the letter "E" through "P," Huggins said, "E, F, G, H, I, K, L, N, Z," according to the police report. Asked to count backward from 67 to 54, he counted from 62 to 52, the report said.
Officers tried to give a breath analyzer test, but Huggins couldn't complete it, the report said.
During Huggins' 15 seasons at Cincinnati, numerous players have been arrested or cited for offenses ranging from domestic violence to punching a police horse. Several were later acquitted or had the charges dropped.
Bearcats coach Bob Huggins has much more to worry about than his basketball team.