Deadline is today for Eustachy to make an appeal to keep job

Monday, May 5, 2003

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Larry Eustachy saga at Iowa State could be just about over. Then again, it might drag on for weeks.

Eustachy has until the close of business today to formally appeal a recommendation that he be fired as the Cyclones' basketball coach.

Athletic director Bruce Van De Velde urged the university to take that action and suspended the coach after it was reported that Eustachy partied and drank with college students in Columbia, Mo., and Manhattan, Kan., following games in those cities.

Under Eustachy's contract, which pays him $1.1 million a year, he had five days to appeal Van De Velde's recommendation, made Wednesday. Three hours before that announcement, Eustachy revealed that he's an alcoholic and is undergoing treatment.

Eustachy, who has been at Iowa State five years, has been consulting with his attorneys since then and has said he would fight to keep his job. One of the attorneys, Jerry Crawford of Des Moines, declined on Sunday to say if an appeal would be filed.

"I don't think we'll say anything about it until Monday," Crawford said.

An appeal would be something rarely, if ever, invoked on behalf of an Iowa State coach.

Iowa State has not fired a coach in one of the major sports since football coach Jim Criner was ousted in November 1986 after his program was accused of numerous NCAA rules violations.

There was no appeal then and Criner's dismissal took effect immediately.

An appeal would be heard by Tahira K. Hira, Iowa State's assistant to the president of external affairs. The hearing must be held within 20 days of an appeal, though that time could be extended if both sides agree.

If Hira would uphold Van De Velde's recommendation, Eustachy could appeal to university President Gregory Geoffroy. If the recommendation would be overturned, there are no provisions listed for Van De Velde to appeal, university spokesman John McCarroll said.

"It would appear at that point he would not be fired," McCarroll said.

McCarroll also said there was nothing spelled out for Eustachy to appeal beyond the president, such as to the state Board of Regents.

Eustachy's appearance at the college parties was reported last Monday by The Des Moines Register, which ran photos that showed Eustachy holding a beer can and kissing and being kissed by young women on the cheek at the Columbia party in the early morning hours of Jan. 22.

The photos were taken by a University of Missouri student who mailed them to the Register.

News organizations and newspapers across the country have picked up on the story, putting the spotlight on a university unaccustomed to such attention. Van De Velde and Geoffroy said the episode has embarrassed the school.

The stories didn't end with Eustachy's suspension. The next day, Van De Velde suspended Steve Barnes, Eustachy's top assistant. Barnes was accused of telling a player and his family to help Eustachy fight for his job and to "go after the people that got us."

Barnes denied making such a remark.

On Friday, the university released documents showing Eustachy had broken NCAA rules by twice paying players to make free throws. The NCAA suspended Eustachy for one game.

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