Former Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy has kept a low profile in
the 10 months since he became a national punch line after an Iowa
newspaper ran photographs of him drinking and cavorting with
college students at a party in Columbia following a loss to
Missouri, but that doesn't mean he has been in hiding. In his
first public comments since he was forced to resign last May,
Eustachy told SI that he has spent much of this season traveling
around the country, sometimes in his RV, visiting with coaching
friends like Bob Knight, Kelvin Sampson and Eddie Sutton.
Eustachy, 48, says he's financially secure, but he still hopes a
return to the sidelines is in his near future.
"I'm surprised at how badly I want to coach again," Eustachy
says. "I have to get somebody to take a chance on me, but it
won't be [much of a risk] because I'm going to have my A-plus
game. I've honestly never felt better. I used to drink at night
and take pills to help me sleep, but I haven't done that [since
If nothing else, Eustachy's actions since he resigned should help
defuse the notion that he only claimed to be an alcoholic in an
effort to save his job. A week after he left Iowa State, Eustachy
says he checked into a 28-day program at a rehabilitation clinic
in Hazelton, Minn. He says he steadfastly attends Alcoholics
Anonymous meetings three times a week, even during his travels,
and speaks daily with his AA sponsor, who lives in Fort Dodge,
Eustachy also says he plans to seek out various groups to speak
to about his experiences and hopes to meet with national
collegiate organizations to create a a role as a spokesman about
the perils of alcoholism. "I understand I have some notoriety, so
my story goes a little further than most people's," he says.
Eustachy hopes that by admitting his mistakes and taking steps to
prove he is dealing with his problem, he will enhance his chances
of landing another coaching job. "I like a guy with one strike
against him, because he always has to be on his best behavior,"
says Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who grew up with
Eustachy in Arcadia, Calif. "Larry's not the first guy who made a
mistake. He'll be an asset to any program. God knows, he can
coach the game."
Indeed, in 13 seasons Eustachy had a record of 260-145, and his
five years at Iowa State included back-to-back Big 12
regular-season titles. His visits the last few months with his
coaching friends have broadened his basketball knowledge while
also recharging his batteries. "I thought he might be burned out,
but there was a calmness about him," says Sampson. "He lost some
weight, he looked sharp, he looked five years younger. I was
almost jealous of him."
Given that two recently disgraced college football coaches have
just gotten second chances--George O'Leary and Mike Price were
hired last month at Central Florida and UTEP, respectively--it's
probably just a matter of time before Eustachy gets another
coaching job. Until then, he is determined to make the most of
his life away from the court. "I know it sounds goofy," Eustachy
says, "but I'm glad it all happened. I've made up for lost time
with my [two] boys. I had a problem, and I caught it before it
got real bad. So I'm not resentful. I'm at peace."