FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Justin Bailey resigned as the UA-Fort Smith men’s basketball coach after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence but has since been cleared of all charges.
Bailey was placed on administrative paid leave earlier this year after his arrest on Dec. 30, 2018 and then resigned in February.
The former Lions coach sent the following statement to 5NEWS:
“First and foremost, I must give thanks to God for allowing me to be in the profession that I am in today. Athletics has been a part of who I am since I was a child, and I am blessed to have been associated with programs who hold themselves to the highest regard. Years ago, my journey with UAFS began as a student athlete and with a National Championship program, only to return as an assistant coach, and eventually Head Coach of the Lions. In December of 2018, I self-reported an incident to my Athletic Director, was placed on administrative leave, and ultimately forced to resign my position as Head Coach. Throughout the whole process, I have maintained my innocence and never once admitted guilt to the charge made against me. In the weeks and months to follow, my reputation and character was put into question by local media and from the public in our community. Today, it is my pleasure to announce that there are formally NO CHARGES filed against me. Unfortunately, this did not happen under the university’s timetable but now I can continue to follow my passion and pursue a position that will allow me to show my strengths and rebuild the honor and integrity of my name. I thank those who stood beside me, knowing that we would prevail! I thank those in the community who supported me through phone calls and text messages. I sincerely thank those who reached out to me and for me with prayer. I am a firm believer in God and I truly believe that greater good will come out of this. I am forever thankful for my past, and even more for my future.”
Bailey had remained quiet throughout the process as he was waiting for the completion of the process but said he ‘knew all along I was not guilty.”
Documents released by the university through a Freedom of Information Act request show Bailey was on a trip of official business with the university and driving a rental car at the time of the arrest.
A letter of termination from UAFS was sent to Bailey on Feb. 8, and it included notice that he had the right to appeal his termination.
Instead, Bailey resigned from his position on Feb. 13 after the letter was sent. In his resignation letter, Bailey stated that he wished the university well.