Minnesota assistant coach Saul Smith talked to guard Julian Welch during a game last year.

Carlos Osorio, Associated Press

U’s Teague reveals return date for Saul Smith after arrest

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO
  • Star Tribune
  • October 26, 2012 - 8:29 PM

Gophers men's basketball assistant coach Saul Smith will fully return to the team on Nov. 13, athletic director Norwood Teague said Friday.

Smith has been on unpaid administrative leave since Sunday following a drunken-driving arrest. That ended Thursday, Teague said, but the assistant will be on paid leave until his return date. The assistant coach, who is the son of head coach Tubby Smith, earns $91,755 a year. Smith's court date, which was previously set for Dec. 3, will be moved to Nov. 9. Smith will miss two regular-season games -- against American and Toledo -- while on leave.

"We have studied the police report and consulted with our general counsel here at the U as well as our human resource department," Teague said. "I talked to Saul, I talked to him about how inappropriate and damaging his actions were and how he jeopardized the reputation of the basketball program and also the university. He's taken responsibility for what he did and we've reached an agreement to resolve it from our end."

Teague said the university will require Smith to go to counseling and education classes about alcohol use with university-approved professionals. When he returns to work he will be required to meet with his staff and team to apologize and discuss what he learned, Teague said.

If similar behavior occurs in the future, he would be subject to possible termination, Teague said.

Smith was arrested last weekend for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Smith was pulled over early Saturday morning for speeding and driving on the shoulder of the highway, according to Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. Smith blew a 0.18 on the Breathalyzer, more than twice the legal limit, after coming from a downtown Minneapolis restaurant.

The incident came on the heels of forward Trevor Mbakwe's probation violation hearing in Florida. Mbakwe's case, which was triggered by a drunken-driving arrest, was wrapped up last Friday after he received two additional years of probation and other stipulations from the court.

"[Trevor] hadn't even gotten back yet," Tubby Smith said on Thursday, lamenting his son's poor decision.

Fans have criticized the university for its handling of the cases. But Teague said he believes in what he and the staff have done.

"If we do our due diligence and make good decisions ... I have a peace about what we're doing, even if it gets criticized," he said. "Because there are so many layers and paths that you have to take when you think about something like this. We looked around the country at what others have done and their practices, and we are at least in line with them or have done even more."

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