The Coloradoan – April 13, 2012 – By Kelly Lyell -
Eustachy introduced as basketball coach.
Saying the “stars must be aligned,” Larry Eustachy has come to CSU for what he fully expects to be the last leg of a long and successful coaching career.
“Thanks for having me,” Eustachy, 56, said Thursday at an introductory news conference in Moby Arena. “This is my last stop.”
Eustachy’s been to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight during the second of his five seasons as coach at Iowa State, one of three school’s that he’s taken to the NCAA Tournament in his 21 seasons as a head coach. He’s won 402 games and lost 258 in his career and has been named the coach of the year in all three conferences in which he’s been a coach, winning the national honor from The Associated Press and U.S. Basketball Writers Association in 2000.
Colorado State University, he said, has all the ingredients he needs to build a successful basketball program.
“I wanted to find a place that only we can achieve the things that can be achieved in basketball – there’s a rich tradition here in basketball; they’ve gone to the Elite Eight before. My plans are to take this program to the Final Four.”
It didn’t hurt any that his wife, Lana, said she “fell in love” with Fort Collins after spending a couple of days here last November, when Eustachy’s Southern Missi-ssippi team handed CSU its only loss in 15 home games this season.
“I thought it was beautiful,” said Lana Eustachy, who attended the news conference along with Eustachy’s two sons from a previous marriage – Hayden, 20, and Evan, 17. “I loved it. I told him I don’t know if Tim Miles is ever going to leave, but if he does, you’re going for it. And even if he doesn’t, I want to move there some day.”
That’s why Eustachy believes the stars were somehow aligned. Miles did, indeed, leave on March 23, after guiding the Rams to a 20-12 season and their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003, to become the new coach at Nebraska. Miles was 71-88 in his five seasons at CSU.
And Eustachy, a longtime friend of CSU volleyball coach Tom Hilbert from their days together as coaches at Idaho in the early 1990s, made sure right away that Graham knew he was interested in the job.
Graham said he and representatives of JMI Sports interviewed 12 candidates from a pool that began with more than 75 prospective coaches. He narrowed the 12 down to a final four, from which Eustachy emerged as the winner after three separate interviews over a nine-day period. The other finalists were New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies, New Mexico assistant Craig Neal and former Oregon coach Ernie Kent.
“This was the most difficult decision of my business career, not because I didn’t have many choices, but because I had so many great choices,” said Graham, who spent 30 years in the insurance and re-insurance industry before becoming CSU’s AD on Dec. 1. “I’m thrilled with the outcome.