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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mississippi Coach's Criminal Case Ends With Guilty Plea

University of Mississippi basketball coach Andy Kennedy will keep his job after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct in a Cincinnati courtroom yesterday.

Kennedy had been charged with assault following an altercation with a cab driver last December while the Rebels were in Cincinnati for a game. He was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge and sentenced to six months probation, a $100 fine, and 40 hours of community service.

We have followed the Kennedy case for several reasons. Kennedy is an alumnus of, and a former star player at, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), my former employer. Two of his assistants, Torrey Ward and Bill Armstrong, are UAB alums. (Armstrong also plead guilty to disorderly conduct yesterday, related to the Kennedy incident.) Having been a victim of a felony assault myself, stemming from the butchery of a lawsuit in Shelby County, Alabama, that issue hits close to home here at Legal Schnauzer.

Finally, the Kennedy case took all kinds of legal twists and turns, showing how a relatively straightforward event can take up all kinds of space on a court docket. Several lawsuits and countersuits remain, and aren't expected to be resolved for 18 months or so.

Kennedy's Ole Miss team had a solid season, despite a rash of injuries. Athletics Director Pete Boone said the coach would be retained but would not receive a contract extension:

“Coach Kennedy’s on-the-court performance this season warranted a contract extension,” Boone said in the statement. “Nevertheless, coach Kennedy knows that any conduct that is detrimental to the image of Ole Miss is unacceptable. Therefore, coach Kennedy and I have mutually agreed that an extension will not be consummated at this time.

“Adversity brings opportunity. Coach Kennedy and our program will emerge from this stronger. We look forward to next season.”

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