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March 25, 2013

McConnell resigns ECU coaching job

Ada — East Central University’s men’s head basketball coach has resigned.

Rodney “Mac” McConnell tendered his resignation with the university on Monday to pursue “other opportunities,” according to a news release by ECU.

It is unclear if a driving under the influence charge, which is still pending in Pontotoc District Court, may have led to the decision to step down.

McConnell was arrested by city police Jan. 13 and charged with a misdemeanor.

He was suspended by the university for a few games but was later reinstated to the head coach’s position. He finished the season coaching the Tigers.

According to police reports concerning the incident, McConnell was allegedly speeding in an ECU-owned vehicle, which prompted Ada policeman Kylor Pool to pull McConnell over. Pool said in the report he suspected McConnell had been drinking, despite McConnell’s denials. Pool alleges in the report that the coach later said he consumed a beer with dinner.

The policeman used a portable breath test on McConnell and arrested him when he failed it, police reports allege.

After arriving at Ada Police Department, police allege that McConnell’s second test showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.08, which is exactly the level considered impaired under Oklahoma law. He was taken to Pontotoc County Jail.

A female companion of McConnell’s was not arrested but was released to a relative.

The ECU-owned vehicle was impounded, and police allege that four empty bottles of beer were discovered during an inventory of its contents.

McConnell was scheduled for a first court appearance in February, but it was continued. He is represented by Ada attorney James R. Neal. A court date in the case has not been rescheduled, according to the district court clerk’s office.

McConnell came to Ada two years ago from Ranger Junior College in Texas as an assistant to then-ECU coach Joe Redmond. When Redmond was dismissed for alleged recruiting violations, McConnell was named head coach.

“We would like to thank coach McConnell for his service the past two years and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said Jeff Williams, ECU director of athletics. “We are opening a national search for our next head coach effective immediately.”

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