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UMW suspends coach after DUI charge

BY STEVE DeSHAZO

The University of Mary Washington has placed men’s basketball coach Rod Wood on administrative leave after his arrest on a driving under the influence charge.

Wood will not coach the Eagles in their regular-season finale Saturday at Wesley (Del.). Assistants Dan Bairley, Bill Engels and Cris Hairston will be in charge.

Retiring UMW Athletics Director Ed Hegmann said he will meet with Wood and Doug Searcy, the school’s vice president for student affairs, on Monday to determine Wood’s future status.

Wood, 44, was arrested Wednesday night in Fredericksburg on a reckless driving charge. Police said he refused to submit to a breath test, triggering an automatic DUI charge. He was released Thursday and his case was continued until March 13.

Hegmann said he was unaware of any prior arrests on Wood’s record and could not remember a similar situation involving any of his coaches during his 36 years as UMW’s athletic director.

“We don’t have any precedent at all,” said Hegmann, who will retire at the end of the school year. “Everybody makes mistakes. Hopefully, you learn from your mistakes.”

Former UMW President William Frawley was fired in 2007 after being charged with DUI, one day after flipping his university-owned car in Fairfax. He was found to have a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit in the first incident.

Hegmann said that precedent may increase public scrutiny of how Wood’s case is handled.

“It raises the level of accountability,” Hegmann said. “The public looks to you to be very accountable. [Public opinion] may be affected by previous incidents.”

Wood, who declined to comment on the advice of his attorney, is in his 15th season at Mary Washington. He has been named Capital Athletic Conference coach of the year four times.

A victory at Wesley would give the Eagles (17–7, 12–3) the top seed for next week’s CAC tournament. Win or lose, they will host a CAC playoff game next Thursday at 8 p.m.

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443

sdeshazo@freelancestar.com

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