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UGA athletic director arrested on DUI

Photo by Donnie Ikpa

Photo by Donnie Ikpa

ATLANTA -- The University of Georgia athletic director who recently signed a five-year contract extension and campaigned against drunken driving will make a public statement Thursday about his arrest on charges of driving under the influence.

Athletic director Damon Evans was arrested late Wednesday night after he was pulled over in a 2009 BMW by a Georgia state trooper in north Atlanta and accused of driving erratically, Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said Thursday.

The 40-year-old former Georgia football player refused a breathalyzer test at the jail, Wright said. He was released early Thursday.

Courtney Fuhrmann, 28, was also in the car and was charged with disorderly conduct after repeatedly ignoring warnings to stay inside the BMW while the trooper was conducting a field sobriety test. Authorities did not know the relationship between Fuhrmann and Evans.

"I honestly don't want to talk to any press," Fuhrmann said by telephone. "I'm not answering anything at this point."

University spokesman Chuck Toney said the school was aware of the report and will issue a statement later Thursday.

Evans, whose new contract began Thursday, did not immediately return a call for comment. He was scheduled to speak to the media at 6:30 p.m. on campus.

Evans became head of the athletic department in 2004, replacing Vince Dooley, who was forced to step aside after a nasty spat with school president Michael Adams. Dooley had been at the school for 40 years, including 25 years as athletic director.

It was a historic appointment for Evans, who was one of Dooley's top aides. He became the Southeastern Conference's first black athletic director, and immediately shook up the department. He reduced the number of associate and assistant athletics directors and fired three of Dooley's longtime lieutenants.

Evans led the department to a record profit in 2005, beating out all other college athletic programs with $23.9 million in revenue. He was rewarded in February when Adams signed him to the new contract that raised his pay to $550,000, plus automatic raises of $20,000 a year and a $250,000 longevity bonus after five years.

Evans, who is married with two children, was the public face of Georgia's athletic programs. He appeared in public service messages against drunken driving on the big screen at Georgia's football stadium.

"We ask that you be responsible," Evans says in the message.

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Associated Press writers Greg Bluestein and Ray Henry in Atlanta contributed to this report.