Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer entered a not guilty plea at the Atlanta Municipal Court, on August 29, after being charged with driving under the influence the night before. Budenholzer is free on $1,524.50 bond.
According to a report from the Georgia State Patrol, Budenholzer was pulled over at 10:30 p.m. EDT, on
Aug. 28, in Atlanta for not having working taillights. Trooper J. Nelms said Budenholzer had bloodshot and watery eyes “and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.”
Budenholze failed a field sobriety test after refusing a breath test, according to the report. He told Nelms he had only one glass of wine and that he finished the glass about 15 minutes before being pulled over. Nelms said in the report that Budenholzer was “polite” and that his speech patterns were mumbled, slow and slurred.
Budenholzer issued an apology in a statement released by his attorney, Michael Hawkins.
“I take my role as a leader very seriously and hold myself to a high standard,” Budenholzer said. “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.”
Hawkins said Budenholzer asked to consult with an attorney before his arrest. Hawkins added that Budenholzer volunteered at the jail to take both a breathalyzer and a blood alcohol test and was denied both requests.
Following his release from jail, Budenholzer went to Piedmont Hospital to have his blood alcohol tested. According to Hawkins the test came back at .01, which is well below the legal limit of .08. Hawkins said that test came “several hours” after the arrest.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said Budenholzer immediately informed him of the arrest. Ferry added that team officials are gathering more information and will not comment any further until the legal process takes its course.
The NBA may also step in and dole out punishment after all legal proceedings. Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd will be serving a two game suspension at the start of the season after pleading guilty to DUI, earlier this year.
The 44-year old Budenholzer replaced Larry Drew as the Hawks head coach on May 29. This is Budenholzer’s first year as a head coach. He spent the last 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, including the last 17-years as an assistant coach.
Atlanta completely shook up their roster after going 44-38 in 2012-13 and making the playoffs for a sixth straight season. The Hawks lost free-agent Josh Smith to the Detroit Pistons. They added free agents Elton Brand, Paul Millsap, Pero Antic, Gustavo Ayon and DeMarre Carroll along with rookie Dennis Schroder. The Hawks also re-signed sharp shooting forward Kyle Korver.
In addition, the Hawks used a second-round draft selection on Mike Muscala and traded for rookie Lucas Noguiera, who was selected No. 16 overall.