Colorado State Athletic Director Joe Parker announced Saturday morning that CSU men’s basketball coach Larry Eustachy has been placed on administrative leave while the University continues their investigation into his conduct with players, assistants, and staff members.
Sources informed 9News that the players found out via social media.
“No one from the administration thought enough of the players to reach out to them and let them know ahead of announcing it to the general public,” the source, who has chosen to remain anonymous, said in a text.
News of the investigation was first reported by Justin Michael, a former sports editor of Colorado State’s student newspaper, late Tuesday night.
According to sources close to the situation, the father of a player contacted Parker with concerns his son was being treated poorly. Parker and two other members of the athletic department interviewed the rest of the team and other staff members involved with the program. During their interviews, two additional players alleged that Eustachy was singling them out and verbally abusing them on their performances. One player, according to several sources, later recanted his statements and apologized to Eustachy.
Several former and current CSU players have been vocal in showing their support for Eustachy, saying he is a “tough coach” and that “soft players” don’t handle his criticism well.
“Every bad season CSU has, people look for someone to blame because they ain’t happy,” said Gian Clavell, a former CSU guard from 2014-2017 and supporter of Eustachy. “Sometimes a coach has to do that to get your players to start playing hard. I didn’t mind it at all because all he was trying to do was for me to play harder.”
Eustachy was at practice this week and coached in CSU’s double-overtime loss against Wyoming.
“I love my coach, that’s all I got to say,” said Anthony Bonner, a redshirt sophomore guard, following Wednesday’s loss.
“To be honest, we got his back 100%,” added teammate Deion James.
This is the second university-led investigation into Eustachy’s conduct in the last four years. The first was conducted during the 2013-2014 season, which was later published by the Coloradoan in February of 2017.
According to the investigation, which contains interviews from 14 players and staff members, Eustachy allegedly created a “culture of fear and intimidation” by emotionally and verbally abusing his players and assistant coaches. In the 90-page report, Eustachy punched and broke dry erase boards and threw unopened soda cans at the walls.
The athletic director at that time, Jack Graham, called for Eustachy to be fired. Instead, Eustachy was ordered to attend anger management classes and apologize to his team. He was also given a no-tolerance policy and would be fired if he violated the terms.
Eustachy, 62, was named the Rams head coach on April 12, 2012, becoming the 19th head coach after Tim Miles left for Nebraska.
Before coming to CSU, Eustachy coached at Southern Mississippi for eight seasons. He also spent time at Iowa State, Utah State, Idaho, Ball State, Utah, Idaho, and Mississippi State. He began his coaching career at Citrus Community College in Glendora, California. Eustachy played there from 1975-1976.
In the midst of his sixth season at CSU, Eustachy has gone 121-75, making one NCAA Tournament appearance and two NIT Tournament appearances during that stretch.
In January of 2017, he earned his 500th career victory. He was later named the 2017 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.
Following a team practice this winter, Eustachy was optimistic when discussing his dreams of finishing out his coaching career in the green and gold with a couple of CSU beat reporters.
But so far in the 2017-2018 season, the program has struggled as a whole. The Rams have lost five consecutive games, stringing together a 10-14 record, 3-8 in conference play. The Rams are in 9th place in the Mountain West Conference.
To make matter worse, the Rams top two players, guards J.D. Paige and Prentiss Nixon, have been sidelined with injuries for the last few weeks.
However, 9News learned Saturday afternoon that Nixon has been cleared to play for “limited minutes” in tonight’s matchup with Nevada.
Associate head coach Steve Barnes will assume head coaching duties in tonight’s game and until the investigation is complete.