Gonzaga coach Few smelled of alcohol prior to DUI arrest

Sep 9, 2021, 3:09 AM | Updated: 3:13 pm

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few’s breath smelled of alcohol and he had bloodshot eyes on the night he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, though he initially told a police officer he had not been drinking, according to newly released documents.

“Mark told me he had spent the day with his family. I asked him how much he had to drink today and Mark told me nothing. I did not believe that Mark was being truthful based on my previously stated observations,” Officer Matthew Lovingler is quoted as saying in the document that details his interactions with Few during a traffic stop Monday night.

Under further questioning by the officer, Few eventually said he had two beers that day, with his last beer coming about four hours before he was pulled over, according to the probable cause declaration filed by the officer in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Efforts to reach Few for comment by telephone and email Thursday received no response. Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford said the school had no comment beyond what was issued earlier in the week, when university officials said they were aware of the situation.

Few previously issued a statement Tuesday, apologizing and saying his decisions that night “do not exemplify” the actions of a role model.

“I recognize that operating a motor vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol exhibits poor judgment,” Few wrote. “Regardless of the outcome of the pending investigation, I will never allow such a lapse in judgment to occur again.”

According to the probable cause declaration, the incident began around 8 p.m. Monday when the officer pulled Few over in Coeur d’Alene, about 30 miles east of the Gonzaga campus in Spokane, Washington. The officer was responding to a report of a black SUV swerving erratically and speeding.

Lovingler said in the documents that he could smell alcohol on Few’s breath through the open car window. He said Few was moving very slowly and had difficulty finding his paperwork in the center console of his car and glovebox.

Lovingler asked Few to perform a field sobriety test but the officer said Few began arguing with him about whether or not the tests were subjective.

Based on his observations, Lovingler determined it was unsafe for Few to drive a car and he handcuffed and arrested Few.

Few provided breath samples at the scene of .119 and .120, which is above the legal limit of .08, according to the document.

Few was then taken at his request to a hospital to receive an independent blood draw. While there, Lovingler was contacted by his superiors and directed to release Few from custody and issue him a citation for drunken driving, the documents said. Few called a friend to pick him up from the hospital.

Few has coached Gonzaga for 22 seasons and has never generated much off-court controversy. He has taken the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament every year except 2020, when the tournament was canceled because of the pandemic. Gonzaga lost to Baylor in the national title game earlier this year. Few is 630-125 at Gonzaga, and his .834 winning percentage is the best of any active coach.

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Gonzaga coach Few smelled of alcohol prior to DUI arrest