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Leaving quietly

Eustachy resigns after reaching settlement with ISU

Posted: Monday May 05, 2003 7:18 PM
Updated: Monday May 05, 2003 11:10 PM
  Larry Eustachy This way's the door: Larry Eustachy elected to end his five-year tenure in Ames without a fight. AP

AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Larry Eustachy insisted he would never resign as basketball coach at Iowa State.

On Monday, he and the school agreed to sever ties and avoid a costly, drawn-out legal fight.

Eustachy resigned one week after the publication of embarrassing photos of him drinking and partying with students.

The 47-year-old vowed that he would coach again, but it certainly won't be at Iowa State where he had won 101 games in five seasons and became Iowa's highest paid state employee, receiving about $1.1 million a year.

"Make no mistake about it, we need to end this thing. We need to end it here," said Eustachy, who spoke briefly with reporters outside his home Monday night. "I've created this situation and I'm holding myself totally accountable, and we move on."

Eustachy acknowledged that he was an alcoholic seeking treatment last Wednesday, the same day the school suspended him with pay and athletic director Bruce Van De Velde recommended he be fired.

The deal between Eustachy and Iowa State gives the coach $110,000 for the remainder of 2003 and a lump sum of $850,000 on Jan. 1, 2004.

"This has been a trying time for Iowa State University," said Dr. Greg Geoffroy, university president. "By resolving this situation today, we will continue to move forward by providing students with the best education possible.

"We are first and foremost an educational institution, one that values integrity, honesty and treating others with fairness and respect. This decision is in the best interests of the university, Mr. Eustachy and the entire Iowa State University family," he said.

Eustachy said he concluded over the weekend that it would be best to accept the settlement, resign and move on.

The monetary settlement "resolves all matters," said Steve Zumbach, the university's attorney.

"This matter needed to be brought to a close. If allowed to continue, that damage would have been irreparable," Zumbach said.

Zumbach said it has been one of the most divisive issues that has confronted the university during his 35-year tenure.

As part of the settlement, Eustachy will receive the university's health benefits over the next year. Those benefits include coverage for treatment of alcoholism, Zumbach said.

Geoffroy said he supported Van De Velde throughout the week.

A handful of basketball players rallied on the campus in support of Eustachy, while some boosters said they were upset with Van De Velde's recommendation.

Eustachy urged his players to stay.

"I expect my players to put any divisiveness behind them and work together to become the individuals and team I know they can be," he said.

"As for the players that my staff and I recruited, I hope they understand Iowa State will continue its high level of commitment to the basketball program and they will be lucky to be members of this team."

Point guard Tim Barnes and center Andrew Skoglund said they are committed to staying with the Cyclones next season.

"This is my team. As the point guard, I'm just going to take over and get this thing back on the right track," Barnes said.

Van De Velde said he would start the search for a new head coach immediately.

Monday was the last of five days Eustachy had to appeal Van De Velde's decision.

Van De Velde declined to comment on the settlement.

At Iowa State, Eustachy won Big 12 championships in 2000 and 2001. He was Big 12 Coach of the Year in both those seasons and was AP Coach of the Year in 2000. He also spent three seasons as head coach at Idaho and five at Utah State. His career record over 13 seasons is 260-145.

His news conference Wednesday was his first public appearance since the publication of photographs showing Eustachy partying at an apartment in Columbia, Mo., after Iowa State's Jan. 21 loss.

The photos, printed in The Des Moines Register, were taken by a University of Missouri student. The photos show Eustachy holding a can of beer, kissing young women on the cheek and being kissed by them.

Students who attended the party told the newspaper that Eustachy drank beer, became belligerent with a partygoer who objected to his presence, and made disparaging remarks about his team.

The future of Eustachy's coaching staff has not been determined. Zumbach said negotiations are still ongoing.

Eustachy's top assistant, Steve Barnes, was suspended the day after his boss. Barnes was accused of telling a player and his family to help Eustachy fight for his job and to "go after the people that got us." Barnes denied making such a remark.

Another assistant coach, Randy Brown, resigned earlier this year after he was charged with possession of child pornography.

 
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