Published: June 13, 2007
CATSKILL – Boxing trainer Kevin Rooney, a former mentor to heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years of probation and fined $2,295 in connection with an April 2006 arrest for felony drunken driving.
In handing down the sentence, Greene County Judge Daniel K. Lalor said he took into account that Rooney is undergoing residential treatment for alcohol abuse.
“You’re going to be sentenced to a life of sobriety, and if you don’t do that, then you’re going to end up spending the rest of your life – maybe six months, maybe a year, maybe a year-and-a-half, maybe two years at a time – in jails or prisons because people are going to put an end to the danger and the nuisance that you cause when you’re a drunk,” Lalor said.
After his court appearance on Tuesday, Rooney said the residential treatment program at Hospitality House in Albany could take a year to complete. He also said it was important for Lalor to consider public safety when ordering probation.
“He’s looking at the whole picture, and I understand what he’s saying,” Rooney said.
“I may be the oldest guy in (the program), and it’s hard,” he said. “It’s not a joke, but I can do it. It’s just not a walk in park.”
More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More’ below).
Police pulled Rooney over on April 9, 2006, for making an illegal U-turn on Mansion Street in Coxsackie and charged him with drunken driving and aggravated unlicensed driving. The latter charge was filed when police discovered Rooney had his license revoked after a previous conviction for drunken driving. That conviction also made the 2006 DWI charge a felony.
Rooney pleaded guilty on May 4.
Rooney, 51, of West Bridge Street, Catskill, was told by Lalor on Tuesday that he has a “long history of being a slave to this disease (alcohol abuse)” and could either use available help to overcome the problem or be consumed by it.
“I think that you will be, because of your position in the community, a tremendous example of redemption, salvation, or you’ll be a tremendous example of failure,” Lalor said.
Rooney, a Golden Gloves champion in 1975, became Tyson’s trainer in 1982 after legendary manager/trainer Cus D’Amato took Tyson under his wing in Catskill. Tyson won the World Boxing Council’s heavyweight title in 1986, and Rooney trained him until 1988.
Rooney later won a $4.4 million judgment against the boxer when a court ruled Tyson broke a verbal agreement to keep Rooney as his trainer.
Rooney still owns the Cus D’Amato Gym on Main Street in Catskill.
In April 2004, Rooney was sentenced to nine months in Greene County Jail for misdemeanor disorderly conduct and violating the terms of his probation from an Albany County drunken driving case. The disorderly conduct charge stemmed from Rooney urinating on Main Street in Catskill on Feb. 19, 2004.