Sunday, May 4, 2003

'I made some very, very poor decisions'

Enquirer Page Two staff

Boy, how many times have we uttered those words!

It all started for Larry Eustachy with a student party in Missouri, and ended with the national coaching figure's future in jeopardy.

When photographs were published last week showing the Iowa State coach drinking beer and kissing co-eds on the cheek, it set off a chain of predictable reactions.

There were columnists who wanted Eustachy's head. There were coaches who thought he was getting a bum rap.

And there was the ESPN Web site, which, among other gags, ran a mock timeline of Eustachy's actions that fateful night.

C'mon, guys. Nobody thought that was funny. At all. Especially that Tale of the Tape against Alabama coach Mike Price.

Of course, the Top of the Second editors would never think of doing such a juvenile thing. Instead, we're offering a measured look at this week's events from the eyes of fellow screw-ups, columnists, coaches and an amateur photographer who once took a camera to Jamaica ... and returned without any pictures.

"He posed, I took," Sean Devereaux says of his subject.

He posed. I took. An apt summary from an English major.

Send in the columnists!

A sampling from this week's best and brightest on the Eustachy story:

Some acts are so heinous they should get a coach fired. Choking a player is such an act. Paying him is another. At one North Carolina school, firing a secretary and reducing the number of tickets allotted to former players is grounds for dismissal.

Partying with students, as foolish as it is, should not get Eustachy fired. One of the qualities an institution of higher learning should embody is compassion. If Iowa State believed in Eustachy before the photographs, it should be strong enough to believe in him now.

Tom Sorensen, Knight Ridder


Eustachy's mistake was not holding true to the Theory of Productivity vs. Problems. When he was leading Iowa State deep into the NCAA Tournament, as he did three seasons ago, it was easy to tolerate him. ... But Eustachy lost his mojo over the past two seasons. ... He was a feeble 9-23 in the Big 12. He failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in two successive seasons. ... Now Eustachy is no longer college basketball's untouchable golden young king.

- Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Ask yourself this, "Would you want your son to play in this program?"

This is not about piling onto the coach's mountain of miseries. Nor is it to take an unforgiving line on alcoholism. But the coach has a problem, and his problem is causing problems for so many others ...

The biggest challenge for Eustachy won't be his battle with the booze.

It will be rebuilding trust.

- Terry Pluto, Knight Ridder

Look at it this way: You're not alone

When the Eustachy story broke, the coach's comments left something to be desired. He said he made "very, very poor decisions."

Still, he's not the only one to offer an underwhelming response to alleged naughty behavior.

• During 1998's Lewinsky-mania, Rep. Henry Hyde admitted to a five-year relationship with a married woman during the 1960s.

Hyde described the relationship as a "youthful indiscretion." He was in his 40s at the time of the affair.

• Former Packers tight end Mark Chmura, after being acquitted of sexual assault and child enticement following an incident at an after-prom party: "The problem wasn't being there; the problem was not leaving."

• Chris Webber, after being indicted on charges of lying to a grand jury: "After the trial, and I am vindicated, this case will be bigger than me lying to the grand jury, which I did not do."

• Charles Barkley, on his regrets about throwing a man through a plate-glass window: "I regret we weren't on a higher floor."

Some helping hands

"What Iowa State did to Larry - there's the embarrassment."

- Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma coach


"Sticking with Larry, in the end, would look more favorably on Iowa State and their vision for the future."

- John Brady, LSU coach

And finally ....

On Friday, the Quad City River Bandits, based in Davenport, Iowa, called off "Larry Eustachy's Iowa State Night at the Ballpark."

The team had planned a promotion for May 7, when beer would be discounted and a kissing booth set up for the Bandits' game against Clinton.

You're nuts, Davenport!

But after Eustachy said he had a problem with alcohol, the Bandits called off the promotion.

"We meant to regard this event as tongue-in-cheek but really did not think it through thoroughly," team president Kevin W. Krause said.

Quick thinking, Kevinator! That's why you're the prez, buddy!

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