Eustachy will fight to keep job
Friday, May 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
AMES, Iowa (AP) _ Larry Eustachy will not give up his job without a fight.
``It's the only way I know how,'' the suspended Iowa State basketball coach told ESPN Radio on Thursday.
``You preach that and you teach that. I just believe that I'm the best person for this situation. Until I'm told that I'm not, I'm going to fight for it.''
Eustachy spoke with ESPN Radio one day after revealing he was being treated for alcoholism and learning that athletic director Bruce Van De Velde had recommended that he be fired.
Van De Velde's action followed newspaper reports that Eustachy partied with college students in Columbia, Mo., and Manhattan, Kan. Photos from the Missouri party show Eustachy holding a beer can while kissing and being kissed by young women on the cheek.
Eustachy, who was suspended with pay, has until Monday to appeal Van De Velde's recommendation.
On Thursday night, associate head coach Steve Barnes was suspended for making what the university said were threatening remarks against the administration and Van De Velde.
The athletic director ordered the suspension after learning that Barnes called the parents of a player Wednesday and urged them to rally around Eustachy, university spokesman John McCarroll said.
McCarroll said that according to the parents, whom he did not identify, Barnes also encouraged them to ``go after the people that got us.''
``Clearly, we see that as a reference to the university and to the athletic director,'' McCarroll said. ``We think this kind of activity by Coach Barnes is really inconsistent with his duty to conduct himself in the best interests of the university and the student-athletes.''
Eustachy said there were ``a lot of people that were let down.''
``I'd like to make them proud again. Most particular, there's a bunch of players that were counting on me and are counting on me and would like to see us put it all together,'' he said.
``I know my wife and my family, my parents and everybody would really like to have me show everybody what can happen as a sober person. So I'm sitting here with my hat in my hands and as sincere as I can be.''
Asked if his firing was warranted, Eustachy replied, ``I'm not sure if I'm the one to judge that. I can only tell you how I feel and what I'd like to have happen.''
About 50 Iowa State students gathered Thursday in front of Beardshear Hall, which houses the university's top administrative offices, to show their support for Eustachy. They cheered as players Jackson Vroman and Jared Homan walked up.
``I came here to play basketball for Larry Eustachy,'' said Vroman, a junior forward. ``I don't know if I'll be around here if he doesn't coach. It's a shame he came out and said he was an alcoholic and they basically turned their backs on him.''
Van De Velde said Eustachy brought ``profound embarrassment'' to the university and violated a good behavior clause in his contract.
Doug Gross, one of Eustachy's attorneys, said he was still gathering information and no appeal had been filed.
``We think the contract provides him with protection,'' Gross said. ``We're just trying to assess what their proposal is. Any relevant statutes, rules or laws will be part of the analysis.''
Eustachy's contract allows him to appeal Van De Velde's decision to Tahira K. Hira, an assistant to university President Gregory Geoffroy. Hira then would conduct a hearing and decide whether to uphold Van De Velde's recommendation.
Her decision could be appealed to Geoffroy.
A hearing must be held within 20 days of an appeal unless both sides agree to a different time.