Iowa State promotes Morgan to replace EustachyPosted: Wednesday May 14, 2003 4:27 PM
Updated: Wednesday May 14, 2003 6:27 PM
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Wayne Morgan, an assistant under former Iowa State basketball coach Larry Eustachy, was introduced as the new head coach Wednesday, ending a tumultuous two weeks in Cyclone athletics.
Morgan, 52, said his hiring was "the greatest thing in my life" and called for unity as the university tries to put the controversy that led to Eustachy's resignation behind it.
Eustachy resigned last week after publication of photographs showing him drinking and kissing young women at a fraternity party in Columbia, Mo., after Iowa State's Jan. 21 loss.
Morgan said it's time for the university to move forward.
"We have special fans here and we have special people, and with the difficult time we've been through it's time for us to come together," Morgan said. "I want us to all come together and support this great university, support this wonderful program."
He promised to maintain the high-quality basketball Cyclone fans are used to seeing.
"We will try and play as hard as you're use to seeing us play," he said.
But he predicted there would be some changes on the court, including "a little more up-tempo, a fun and exciting brand of basketball."
University President Gregory Geoffroy and athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said Morgan fits the description of the kind of person the university was looking for in a new coach.
"We were looking for someone with trust, honesty and integrity, a proven national recruiter with demonstrated success," Van De Velde said.
Iowa State also wanted someone with coaching success as both an assistant and head coach.
"And most of all a player's coach, who can develop, teach and mentor with young men," Van De Velde said.
Geoffroy said Morgan has displayed the talent, skill and energy to become the new coach for a Cyclone team that finished last season 17-14 overall and 5-11 in the Big 12.
Morgan came to Iowa State last summer after six years as head coach at Long Beach State, finishing with a 91-84 record. His 1999-2000 team finished 24-6 and won the Big West Conference championship.
Prior to that he spent 12 years as an assistant at Syracuse and held assistant coaching jobs at Xavier and Dartmouth.
Morgan and his wife Maribeth have three children.
Van De Velde said details of Morgan's four-year contract could be worked out as early as the weekend. In the meantime, he declined to talk about how much Morgan will be paid.
With base pay of $220,000 and $880,000 in guaranteed outside income, Eustachy received $1.1 million a year and was Iowa's highest-paid state employee.
Geoffroy said Morgan's hiring was well received by players.
"The player's really like coach Morgan -- he was their first choice and they are very excited to play for him."
Cyclone player Jake Sullivan said the players are happy that Morgan was hired to be their new coach.
"We're all very excited," said Sullivan, who will be a senior next year. "We're all on the same page, we're together 110 percent and we're behind this decision. This is the guy we really wanted."
Sullivan said the players trust Morgan and believe he was the best candidate to move the team forward.
"He has the kind of system that excites players, and to get this program where it needs to be again," Sullivan said. "He's the right guy."
Point guard Tim Barnes, who supported Eustachy and initially said he might not return if Eustachy left, said he is committed to playing for Morgan.
"I'm going to go out and play the same as I did for Larry -- 110 percent," Barnes said. "I'm pretty sure everyone is going to come back. Everybody loves coach Morgan and everybody's glad to see him as head coach now and move on. Now we can just get back to playing as a team."