Set to enter his sixth season with the Gophers, Minnesota assistant basketball coach Saul Smith was placed on administrative leave on Sunday after he was arrested on suspicion of a DUI early Saturday morning.
The team announced the news in a release late Sunday afternoon, and Smith will be on indefinite leave without pay until his situation is fully cleared up. Athletic director Norwood Teague, as reported by 1500ESPN.com's Tom Pelissero, indicated the necessity to discipline Smith after his actions.
"While we do not want to rush to judgment before the legal process proceeds, Coach Tubby Smith and I are taking this matter seriously," Teague said. "University of Minnesota values dictate that our coaches and staff be positive role models for our student-athletes. As such, we are taking disciplinary measures while the legal system takes its course."
Smith played 143 games for his father, Tubby, at Kentucky until his college career ended in 2001, but returned to Lexington in 2003-04 as an assistant coach after failing to make an impact at the professional level. After four years of working at nearby Tennessee Tech as an assistant, Smith has been a solid presence on the bench in Minnesota as a backcourt coach.
Though the release indicated that Smith is a first-time offender and will be due in court on Dec. 3, it's interesting to note that star forward Trevor Mbakwe was not kicked off the team for a similar incident this offseason. It's difficult to say whether Smith will be back on the bench again in 2012-13 after this arrest, but this seems to be a disappointing situation for all involved.