Huggins fined, must attend intervention

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 16, 2004

FAIRFAX - Suspended Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins was ordered to attend an alcohol education course Tuesday after pleading no contest to a charge that he was driving drunk last week.

Magistrate John Holschuh Jr. of the Fairfax Mayor's Court found Huggins guilty and ordered him to pay a $350 dollar fine plus court costs and attend the three-day state-certified intervention program. Holschuh suspended a six-month jail sentence and $650 dollars of a $1,000 fine provided that Huggins complete the other requirements.

Huggins also can't drive for 15 days, after which he will be limited to driving to and from work, for medical purposes, or other special circumstances for the remainder of a six-month period, said village lawyer Alan Abes.

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News cameras were trained on Huggins as he entered the small courtroom in this suburban Cincinnati village of 2,000 people for his brief appearance.

Huggins lawyer Richard Katz entered the plea, and the coach only spoke when when asked by Holschuh if he had anything to add. Huggins replied, "No, sir."

Huggins and his lawyer exited through a rear door of the courtroom and were unavailable for comment.

Fairfax police charged Huggins with a first-time, misdemeanor drunken driving violation on June 8, alleging that he failed to control his car as he drove through the village.

State law allows a maximum punishment of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor offense, but that typically isn't imposed in the first-time, drunken-driving offender cases that the mayor's court handles, Abes said.

"We've always taken the position that we're not treating Mr. Huggins any more harshly or leniently than anyone else," Abes said.

The University of Cincinnati has placed Huggins on an indefinite, paid suspension, during which he is forbidden to go to his campus office or talk with athletic recruits. His top assistant, Dan Peters, was appointed Monday as interim head coach during Huggins' absence.

Athletics director Bob Goin won't say when Huggins might be back on the job, or disclose what conditions Huggins must meet in order to return.

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, 50, has taken the Cincinnati Bearcats to 13 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament. He has been the school's head basketball coach since 1989.