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Citadel Football Coach Suspended for Season After DUI Arrest

August 6, 1996

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ The attorney for Citadel football coach Charlie Taaffe says there’s been no decision on whether the coach might sue to get his job back.

School officials benched Taaffe for the season on Monday because of his second drunken-driven arrest in three years.

Taaffe’s lawyer, Akim Anastopoulo, said neither he nor Taaffe had seen anything in writing.

``Our position is Charlie wants to coach football, he has a contract to coach football, and that is what he wants to do,″ Anastopoulo said. ``We have requested more specifics on what The Citadel plans to do, and we will evaluate those options at the (proper) time.″

Athletic director Walt Nadzak said Taaffe has been suspended from coaching indefinitely, but will teach classes in the college’s physical education department.

``Coach Taaffe will not coach the football team this season,″ Nadzak said. ``We will evaluate things at the appropriate time.″

Nadzak, a close friend of Taaffe’s who hired the coach almost 10 years ago at the military college, fought back tears as he made the announcement.

``Our coaches in all sports are held to a higher degree of responsibility and a higher standard of behavior,″ he said.

Taaffe was arrested July 27 and charged with driving under the influence after allegedly running a red light. He was acquitted of a DUI charge in 1993 after he was stopped on Interstate 26.

Assistant coach and defensive coordinator Don Powers, a Taaffe assistant for eight seasons, was named acting head coach. Nadzak will serve as director of football operations, overseeing the football staff.

Taaffe, 55-41-1 with one Southern Conference championship in nine seasons at The Citadel, recorded a 0.09 percent blood-alcohol level on a breath test, according to a police report from last month’s arrest.

Someone with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.10 percent may be inferred to be under the influence under South Carolina law.

Starting tight end George Hampton said the players are shocked.

``We don’t want to lose him. He’s a great coach and a great man,″ Hampton said. ``But he’s also human. You can’t fault him.″

Fall drills begin next week. The Citadel, which went 2-9 last season, opens Sept. 7 at Miami.

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