Sportswriters often recount scenes of joy and celebration, but
they also tell stories of people at their lowest ebb. The latter
was certainly the case last week, when SI's Grant Wahl, George
Dohrmann and Don Yaeger reported the parallel unravelings of Iowa
State basketball coach Larry Eustachy and Alabama football coach
Mike Price (page 38).
Wahl, who has covered college basketball for SI for six years,
traveled to Ames, Iowa, and found people talking of nothing but
Eustachy, who announced he was an alcoholic after photos of him
partying with undergraduate students surfaced in The Des Moines
Register. "I haven't been around Iowa during the presidential
campaigns, but I can't imagine the amount of buzz for those would
be any more than what was going on there last week," Wahl says.
Dohrmann tracked down Eustachy's former players and assistant
coaches and found many not surprised by the coach's confession,
given Eustachy's mood swings and erratic behavior. Dohrmann, who
has been with SI for two years, knows his way around troubled
athletic departments: While with the Saint Paul Pioneer Press in
2000 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on academic fraud
within Minnesota's basketball program.
Yaeger, meanwhile, retraced the wild night that cost Price his
job and found himself amazed at the coach's behavior. "He came to
Alabama because it was a place where football was king," says
Yaeger, an eight-year SI veteran who recently reported on Uday
Hussein's torture of athletes in Iraq. "When you're part of that
legend, you can't live invisibly." Yaeger is the author of 10
books, including Never Die Easy with Walter Payton.
He has written books about Wall Street (Liar's Poker) and Silicon
Valley (The New New Thing), but now Michael Lewis (right) turns
his attention to a Bay Area wunderkind more concerned with OBPs
than IPOs: Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane.
Beane has made Oakland a perennial winner despite working with
one of the smallest payrolls in the major leagues. In Lewis's new
book, Moneyball, which we excerpt in this issue (page 59), he
tells how Beane, himself once considered a can't-miss prospect as
a player, came to show the old-guard scouts that everything they
were doing was wrong.