The Denver Post reported Thursday afternoon that a source inside the Colorado State basketball program has indicated that head coach Larry Eustachy will be fired. Eustachy is currently on administrative leave while the Athletic Department conducts its second investigation into his conduct as coach in the past five years.
Eustachy’s firing most likely marks the end of a head coaching tenure that will be remembered far more for outside scandals than on-court success. He leaves the Rams this year with a 10-16 record (3-10 in the Mountain West) and, despite three 20-win seasons, no conference titles during his tenure.
Recall that Eustachy burst onto the scene at Iowa State after leading Utah State to the NCAA tournament in 1997-98. His second and third Iowa State teams won Big 12 titles and his 1999-00 squad made it to the Elite Eight, finishing with a 32-5 record. Eustachy was named the AP coach of the year after the season.
His early success earned Eustachy a fat contract extension that Iowa State would come to regret when in 2003, pictures surfaced of Eustachy toasting beers and kissing female students at a Columbia, Missouri, college party after the Cyclones lost to Mizzou. He also reportedly attended a Kansas State frat party that year after another loss. Oh, and he was paying his players, but that’s pretty standard stuff.
Needless to say, the controversy warmed Eustachy’s seat considerably and instead of waiting to be let go, he resigned from Iowa State in May 2003. More importantly for him, Eustachy announced at the time of his resignation that he recently entered into a rehab program for his alcoholism.
After a year off from coaching, Eustachy spent eight years as the head coach at Southern Miss. He made one NCAA tournament appearance in 2011-12. That 25-9 season got him on Colorado State’s radar and the school officially hired him away from Southern Miss in April 2012.
It wasn’t long before Eustachy’s conduct at Colorado State landed him back in the doghouse. The first internal investigation occurred in 2013-14 under CSU’s previous athletic director and found that Eustachy had an explosive temper and took frustration out on his players through verbal abuse. He also apparently rained down unopened cans of Diet Coke, which became his drink of choice after getting sober.
It goes without saying that it’s good for Eustachy that he sobered up. But instead he reportedly drinks up to 20 Diet Cokes in a single day. I’m a little unsure of the exact science, but something tells me 20 Diet Cokes in a day can’t be that much better for your health than 20 beers. Not to mention that throwing them at your players still goes up there with “get blitzed at an opposing school’s frat party” on the list of things likely to get you fired.
Despite his past conduct, Eustachy stayed on board at CSU with a new list of “zero tolerance” behaviors that would get him axed in the future. The only surprising thing, now that Eustachy is being fired for misconduct, is that he hung on this long. The most recent reporting from the Denver Post, linked above, claims that the most recent investigation found that Eustachy singled out players with profane tirades in games and practices.
Once the second investigation was announced, it was pretty safe to assume it was game over for Eustachy. If anyone needed more convincing, take a look at his post-game press conference after losing a 15-point lead with 5 minutes left against rival Wyoming on Feb. 1.
CSU basketball coach Larry Eustachy’s response to a question about his future at CSU following the school announcing it is investigating his conduct, the second such investigation in the past several years. pic.twitter.com/rkklSPzVLx
— Miles Blumhardt (@MilesBlumhardt) February 1, 2018
Double-fisting Diet Coke while deflecting a question about your employer’s investigation into your conduct for the second time: that is the look of a man truly dead inside.