Coach takes indefinite leave of absence to be with ailing mother

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy is taking an indefinite leave of absence to be with his ailing mother.

It is unclear how long Eustachy will be out, a school spokesman said. He could be back by Saturday's game with Tulane or miss more significant time.

Associate head coach Steve Barnes will lead the Golden Eagles (8-7) in Eustachy's absence.

Eustachy made the announcement following Tuesday night's 52-41 loss to Central Florida, the Conference USA opener for both teams.

The coach's mother, Helen Eustachy, has cancer and he flew to California on Wednesday to be with her.

Southern Miss athletic director Richard Giannini said Eustachy should stay with his mother as long as necessary.

"At this time, Larry needs to go home and be with this mother," Giannini said. "I went through the same situation, and I know it can be day by day. As athletic director, I believe nothing else is more important. I encourage Larry to take as much time as he needs."