Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker announced Saturday that CSU men's basketball coach Larry Eustachy is on administrative leave. The news came down less than six hours before the Rams' home game against Nevada.
Associate head coach Steve Barnes will take over in Eustachy's absence. Colorado State is 10-14 this season and has lost five straight in Mountain West play.
"I have asked head coach Larry Eustachy to temporarily step away from the men's basketball program, as he has been placed on administrative leave while we conclude our climate assessment," Parker said in a statement that was shared by the Denver Post. "We are diligently working through this assessment as expeditiously as possible, understanding the importance of a thorough and fair process. No conclusions have been made."
News of CSU looking into the coaching behavior of Eustachy. Eustachy had previously been investigated by his own university in 2014 over allegations of verbal and emotional abuse. Then-outgoing athletic director Jack Graham recommended at the time that Colorado State move on from Eustachy.
This ongoing probe could cost Eustachy his job based on potential violations of the terms he signed on with in 2014, following the university's investigation against him. Eustachy kept his job in 2014 when CSU president Tony Frank overruled Graham's suggestion. Among the terms Eustachy had to adhere to: no longer being allowed to coach or consult with players alone.
Eustachy's leave of absence comes after those in the program were interviewed Parker this week. Despite being asked about it after CSU's loss Wednesday against Wyoming, Eustachy has not commented on the university's inquiry regarding him.
Sources close to the team told The Denver Post that Eustachy would repeatedly single out players by screaming profanities at them during practice and at halftime during games, and that he picked more heavily on players who were not in the starting rotation.
Eustachy, according to team sources who requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation from the coach, told the team in a meeting last Tuesday that he was informed by CSU president Tony Frank his job was safe. Frank's office denied such communication, stating "Frank would not—and did not—make statements to anyone regarding the climate assessment of the men's basketball program led by … Parker. To do so would compromise the integrity of Parker's assessment, in which President Frank has complete confidence."
Eustachy was tasked with attending anger management courses after he was kept on at Colorado State in 2014. Colorado State is 121-74 under Eustachy; the coach arrived in Fort Collins in 2012. His first season included a trip to the NCAA Tournament, his only one with the program.
In October of 2016, Eustachy signed a contract extension through 2020-21. He makes nearly $1 million per year and would cross that $1 million threshold if he kept his job for next season. Eustachy previously was head coach at Southern Miss and Iowa State. It was while he was at Iowa State that he brought infamy to himself; Eustachy was photographed drinking, and kissing, college students while he was the head coach of the Cyclones. Those incidents, combined with his battles with alcoholism, led to his resignation at Iowa State in 2003.