|Monday, April 28
Updated: April 30, 10:23 AM ET
Discipline weighed; coach will deal with his drinking
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa State basketball coach Larry Eustachy said drinking was a factor in his behavior at a student party in Missouri, where he was photographed holding a beer can and kissing female students on the cheek.
"I am certainly aware of the role drinking has played in my behavior. I am addressing this matter," Eustachy said in a statement issued Monday by Des Moines lawyer Jerry Crawford.
Crawford would not comment when asked if that meant Eustachy would seek counseling.
Eustachy was photographed at a party in a Columbia, Mo., apartment during the early-morning hours of Jan. 22, after the Cyclones lost at Missouri.
The photos show Eustachy embracing and kissing women on the cheek or being kissed on the cheek. The Des Moines Register ran the photos to accompany a story that appeared Monday.
The Register also quoted Kansas State students describing Eustachy's actions at a fraternity party in Manhattan, Kan., after the Cyclones lost at Kansas State in January 2002.
Iowa State administrators were looking at possible disciplinary action against Eustachy, who met with athletic director Bruce Van De Velde and university President Gregory Geoffroy after learning the Register had copies of the photos.
"The situation will be dealt with in an appropriate manner," Van De Velde said Monday. "I think Coach Eustachy knows he made some very poor decisions. I think he's used bad judgment."
Van De Velde refused to say what kind of punishment was being considered. A member of the state Board of Regents, David Fisher of Des Moines, said he would not think it too extreme to fire Eustachy.
Eustachy said he regretted his actions.
"I want the people of Iowa and the fans of our program throughout the nation to know how sorry I am to have disappointed them with some poor decisions I have made," Eustachy said in his statement.
"But words are cheap at a time like this and I hope to be measured by my future conduct."
Fisher, whose term on the Board of Regents expires Thursday, said he was "shocked and stunned" by the reports of Eustachy's behavior.
"Certainly it is not a good image for Iowa State University, which is a fine school doing so many good things, to have one of its high-profile employees behave like this," Fisher said. "This is not good."
Asked if dismissal was possible, Van De Velde replied: "We're still reviewing the situation. I have to visit with the president. We'll make that decision down the road."
Eustachy, 47, guided Iowa State to the Big 12 championship in 2000 and 2001 and was selected national coach of the year in 2000, when the Cyclones reached the final eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Married since 1987, Eustachy and his wife, Stacy, have two sons -- Hayden, 10, and Evan, 8.
"I'm sure that he is very embarrassed, as he should be," Gov. Tom Vilsack said. "I'm sure he feels he has let a lot of people down and he has. He's going to have to deal with that."
Vilsack made his comments at a bill-signing ceremony attended by a number of children. He said children tend to look up to people in public positions such as Eustachy, who makes $1 million a year and is Iowa's highest paid public employee.
"I think with that, you've got a special responsibility," Vilsack said.
The photos of Eustachy were taken by Sean Devereaux, who is a junior at Missouri and lives at the apartment where the party took place.
Devereaux told the Register that Eustachy arrived between 1:30 and 2 a.m. with Missouri player Josh Kroenke. Van De Velde said Eustachy is a friend of Kroenke's father, Stan, and other family members.
The Register quoted Devereaux as saying Eustachy drank beer, became belligerent with a partygoer who objected to his presence, made disparaging remarks about his team and left the party between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. after residents of the apartment called a cab for him.
"He was here and acted very uncoachlike," Devereaux told the newspaper. "I didn't think personally he could hang that long, being an old man."
Devereaux said he took the photos because he wanted to show that Eustachy had been at his party. He mailed negatives to the Register in mid-March, telling the newspaper he made them public because he was bothered by Eustachy's behavior.
"Visiting with Coach Eustachy, I think he sincerely regrets his action and the harm he caused the university," Van De Velde said. "I think he understands he has some challenges and some deficiencies that he needs to address."
A Kansas State student, Nicole Wenger, said Eustachy showed up at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house hours after the Cyclones lost to Kansas State on Jan. 19, 2002.
Wenger was quoted as saying Eustachy complimented her on her looks and asked where she was from. She replied she was from Lawrence, Kan.
"He was like, 'What are you doing here? Why aren't you going to KU? The girls down there are much hotter. You belong there,' " Wenger told the Register.
She said Eustachy was "not representing himself very well."
Van De Velde said he had no information to dispute the students' accounts of the parties, but added, "No laws were broken that we know of."
Eustachy does not like to fly and usually drives to games while the team goes by chartered airplane. The team returns home immediately after the game. Eustachy often does not drive back until the next day.
Van De Velde refused to say if Eustachy would be ordered to travel with the team.