Hawks coach Budenholzer in drunk-driving charge

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Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer gestures during an NBA basketball news conference in Atlanta. Budenholzer has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence after being pulled over Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Tulis, File

ATLANTA – Atlanta Hawks new head coach Mike Budenholzer vowed to fight drink-driving charges on Thursday after being arrested for driving under the influence.

Budenholzer was arrested and charged with DUI late Wednesday and released on $1,524 bond, an Atlanta City Jail spokeswoman said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a Georgia State Patrol trooper pulled Budenholzer over because the tail lights on his vehicle weren’t working.

According to the newspaper, he failed a field sobriety test.

However, the Hawks coach came out fighting on Thursday, pleading not guilty before pledging to contest the charges.

“I take my role as a leader very seriously and hold myself to a high standard. I apologize to the fans and to the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon my family and the organization while the legal process evolves and I contest these misdemeanor charges,” Budenholzer said in a statement cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Hawks meanwhile said they were assessing information about the incident.

“Bud made us aware of the situation last night,” Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement.

“We are in the process of gathering more information and will have further comment at the appropriate time.”
Budenholzer’s lawyer, Michael Hawkins, released a statement saying his client was arrested after he asked to consult with an attorney before submitting to a breathalyzer test when he had been stopped “solely for an equipment violation.”

Hawkins said that a blood test performed in hospital some hours after Budenholzer’s arrest and release showed an alcohol concentration “well below the legal limit.”

Budenholzer was named the new Hawks coach in May. He had spent the past 19 seasons in San Antonio and as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich was part of the Spurs’ run of four NBA titles between 1999 and 2007.

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