As I write this, the Rams are coming off of yet another head coaching change, another coach placed on administrative leave and, strangely enough, a refreshing win. But of course, we know that at this stage, a win means very little as the entire CSU Men’s basketball program is up in the air.
Let’s go back to the head coach CSU began the year with; Larry Eustacy. A complicated individual with a spotted past. Colorado State was willing to look beyond his checkered background and give him a second chance. A chance that seemingly proved to be worth the risk as the coach helped bring the Rams to an NCAA tournament and an overall record of 121-74. But that record is on hold at the moment and will likely end there as CSU continues its “climate assessment;” a fancy term for investigating whether or not the coach was verbally and emotionally abusive to his players and those surrounding the program. But just how long has this coach been this way? How long was he allowed to allegedly treat CSU players with disrespect and berate them to the point that forced this investigation? According to one of our CSU insiders, Kelly Lyle of the Coloradan, his actions were tolerated much longer than the 2017/18 season. “A previous investigation during the 2013-2014 season found that he (Eustachy) created an ‘atmosphere of fear and intimidation’ within the program,” Kelly wrote in a recent article and elaborated with us on the show last Thursday about that investigation. (CLICK LINK TO HEAR PODCAST FROM SHOW )` So why, knowing this was an issue, was Eustacy given another chance? Ten years before that he was suspended from Iowa State after pictures surfaced of him kissing young women and holding a beer at a party near the University of Missouri campus just hours after his team lost to the Tigers. Ultimately, he was suspended and admitted to attending rehab treatment for alcoholism. After resigning from Iowa State, he went on to coach a few other teams before landing at CSU. No, I have no problem giving second chances and it seemed he did quit drinking, at least to the point where the public wouldn’t know about it. But here we have a situation where multiple times now a coach has been accused of creating a negative atmosphere. And what’s worse, the Rams just put assistant/recent interim head coach Steve Barnes on administrative leave a week later. A man some believe to be even worse than Eustachy. A man that has worked with Eustachy at five schools and like Eustachy, Barnes was also suspended only his suspension was issued because of concerns that he was intimidating players for speaking out against Eustachy.
So what is it that CSU President Tony Frank sees in not only Larry Eustachy but Steve Barnes? The man that hired Eustachy, former CSU AD Jack Graham, insisted Colorado State move on from the troubled coach years ago, yet Frank decided to keep him and instead order Eustachy to attend some sort of anger management. Boy, if I have a coach leading several young men year after year that required anger management I think I’d rethink my decision. But Frank kept him on board knowing he had anger issues. And here we are again. The Rams are left with an absolute mess. That being said I do applaud what CSU AD Joe Parker is doing; collecting ALL the facts before acting. Yes, he probably should have sat down with the players before putting their head coach on leave, but I certainly understand why he is playing everything so close to the chest. It appears the Rams have an “anonymous source” problem; meaning there are several people within the program giving information to numerous media outlets.
It’s unfortunate that it is coming to this. CSU knew they had a coach that struggled with alcoholism and anger issues. Yet time after time it seemed they were willing to overlook the issues at hand and hope for a change.
Listen, I don’t know for sure just how bad Coach Larry Eustachy is. Some players insist he’s a great coach while others couldn’t disagree more. Here are the facts; There are numerous complaints against him, he does have a self admitted anger problem and his best friend, Steve Barnes, appears to have a bit of a nasty side as well. Where there’s smoke there is fire and in this case, the smoke is too much to ignore this time around. I suspect Coach Eustachy and Barnes will be looking for work by week’s end.