Second-year East Central University head men’s basketball coach Rodney “Mac” McConnell has been suspended by the university after he was arrested Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) by Ada police.
McConnell hired Ada attorney James R. Neal to represent him at an upcoming court appearance on a misdemeanor DUI charge. That hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 6 before District Judge Steve Kessinger, according to court documents.
“Coach Mac McConnell has been suspended of his coaching duties while the charges against him are being investigated. We are also waiting for the legal process to run its course before taking further action,” said ECU Director of Athletics Jeff Williams.
Assistant coach Trey Hendon will take over the head coaching duties on an interim basis.
Ada Police Officer Kylor Pool stopped McConnell early Sunday morning in the 100 block of Kings Road after he observed the vehicle McConnell was driving speeding in the 1200 block of North Broadway, according to Pool’s report
Pool alleges in the report that McConnell initially denied drinking any alcohol when the coach got out of the vehicle. Pool, however, said he smelled alcohol and asked McConnell to submit to a field sobriety test, which he did.
Pool alleges that McConnell’s coordination seemed impaired, and he failed a heel-to-toe sobriety test. Pool further states that McConnell was unable to keep his balance while listening to instructions concerning the field test. Sometime after leaving his vehicle, McConnell told Pool that he had consumed a beer with dinner, the report alleges.
The officer used a portable breath test that indicated the coach was under the influence. McConnell was then placed under arrest and agreed to the state implied-consent test. McConnell was given the test at the Ada Police Department, and his blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent, which is exactly the level considered impaired by Oklahoma law.
Pool alleges in the report that McConnell became upset while being transported to the Pontotoc County Justice Center, said he had only two drinks and became “further upset because he blew 0.08 and didn’t get taken home.”
A female passenger in the vehicle with McConnell at the time of his arrest was released to her sister.
The vehicle in which the coach was driving is owned by East Central University. It was impounded and four empty bottles of beer were discovered during an inventory of its contents, police allege.
McConnell was head coach at Ranger Junior College in Texas when he joined the Tigers in August 2011 as an assistant to former coach Joe Redmond.
Months later, McConnell was named head coach when Redmond was dismissed for alleged recruiting violations.