Eustachy: My plans are to take this program to the Final Four
April 12, 2012
"We're here to hear from our Athletic Director, Jack Graham, who is introducing our new men's basketball coach, Larry Eustachy. I don't want to steal Jack's thunder, but I do want to make just a couple of quick comments.
"I think that Coach Eustachy has established an absolutely remarkable record of on-the-court excellence, and I think the lessons he has learned in amassing and assembling that record will serve Colorado State University very well. But at least equally important, I think, are the lessons that he brings from life. Lessons about perseverance in the face of adversity. Lessons about maintaining a focus on excellence when faced with challenge. Lessons about learning from your mistakes and using that knowledge to help others. These are lessons that I think transcend the basketball court, and let's make no mistake about it, we have very high hopes for excellence on the basketball court as well. We expect, at Colorado State University, that the excellence of our athletic programs will mirror that of the excellence that has always been the academic foundation at this great university.
"I think it is important to mention that academic foundation, because at the end of the day the young men and women who come here are student-athletes at Colorado State. Although they have tremendous abilities, although they have very special ambassadorial responsibilities to the university, they are first and foremost students. We expect them to not only hit the three-point shot, but to earn the three-point GPA. We want them to have three-point quality character.
"I believe that Larry Eustachy understands these things. I believe he embodies them. I think he'll be a great teacher and I am very proud to welcome him to the Colorado State University family. So with that, let me introduce the Director of Colorado State University Athletics; a man who has an incredibly strong passion for improving excellence at his alma mater, the Director of Athletics, and my friend, Jack Graham."
"I want to start off by saying that I had two very specific objectives in mind when I took on the task of finding the new head basketball coach for our men's program. The two criteria I had were: number one, find a great basketball coach who is going to build on the success and platform that already exists for us here today. We have a good platform, and our opportunity to take this to another level and establish Colorado State University as a venue of great basketball traditions and a household word amongst everyone in the United States is what we are seeking to accomplish. So find a great basketball coach was number one. Number two, I wanted to find a great basketball coach who wanted to make Colorado State University and Fort Collins his permanent home for a lifetime. That he is here to stay, that when we establish that success, when we establish those traditions that he is here to stay and stay with us permanently.
"I will say without any hesitation and with complete confidence that we have accomplished both of those objectives in finding Coach Eustachy to lead us into this next `Bold New Era' for Colorado State basketball.
"In 1990, Larry started his career as a head basketball coach when the Vandals gave him an opportunity to be a head coach for the first time. At the time that he was appointed, he was the youngest D-1 basketball coach in the country. I don't know if he's still that, but we got him.
"With the Vandals his record was impressive. He was there for three years and he had three years of successive winning seasons. They won the Big Sky Conference in 1993, and his overall record at Idaho was 61-33, a 65 percent winning record.
"From Idaho he went to Utah State. He was the head coach at Utah State from '93 until '98. While he was in Logan they won three Big West titles. They won their conference tournament in 1998. They played in the NIT in 1995 and the NCAA tournament in 1998. He compiled an overall record with Utah State of 98-53, another 65 percent winning record.
"In 1998 he was named the head coach at Iowa State where he established the Cyclones as a household name. He took them from a platform that was in deep trouble when he arrived and turned them into a great basketball school between 1998 and 2003. They won back-to-back conference championships in 2000 and 2001 including top ten rankings. In 2000 they were ranked sixth and in 2001 they were ranked 10th. They had 32 wins in the 2000 season. They made consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament including an elite eight appearance in 2000. He was named the Big XII Coach of the Year twice and National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and the U.S. National Basketball Writers Association in 2000. He also coached two all-Americans and two Big XII Players of the Year in Jamaal Tinsley and in Marcus Fizer. He compiled an overall win-loss record at Iowa State of 101-59, another 63 percent winning record.
"And then he hit a detour. Tony alluded to this in his opening comment. He hit a detour at Iowa State when there were some pictures posted on a website that involved alcohol. In Larry's way of thinking it was the best thing that happened to him in his entire life. It gave him an opportunity to deal with a disease that for all of you who know about alcoholism, and all of us do know about alcoholism it touches all of us, was an opportunity to tackle something and correct something in his life. He took on that disease with the same passion and intensity and focus as he coaches players on the basketball court.
"I have an incredible amount of respect for this man, an incredible amount of confidence in this man and I am absolutely convinced that he is going to represent our university in the best kind of character that we can imagine.
"The University of Southern Mississippi gave him a second chance. He had great respect for that university. He showed up at Southern Miss in 2005, not unlike our program in 2006 when Tim Miles showed up here, that program was in disarray. Maybe even worse disarray than what we had here in 2006 because of Hurricane Katrina.
"In 2006 he was coaching from a portable building because the campus had been devastated. They went 11-17 their first year but over his eight-year career they compiled 142 wins and an average number of wins of 18. They had an at-large bid to go to the NCAA tournament this season. It was the first time in the history of Conference USA that a team had received an at-large bid and won 25 games for the 2011-2012 season. Larry was named the Conference USA, as well as the District 11 Coach of the Year, for the 2011-12 season.
"Larry is one of only eight coaches in the history of college basketball who has won three separate conference titles in his career. When he wins his fourth in the Mountain West conference he will be one of only two coaches in the history of college basketball that has won four separate conference titles. If you think he's not committed to achieving that and we're not committed to helping him achieve that then you're in the wrong room.
"I think it is pretty clear that Larry's track record establishes that he can deliver results. I am absolutely convinced that he can deliver results and that we are going to win when we play basketball under his leadership. I think we all know that we define success as much more than just winning basketball games when you're leading an athletic program at Colorado State University.
"I'm just amplifying what Dr. Frank said when he introduced me. At Colorado State it begins with the student-athlete. We graduate our student-athletes. Our student-athletes are expected to excel in academics and we recruit only student-athletes of the highest character. We are absolutely committed to those principles. I have complete confidence as a result of a massive amount of diligence about coach Eustachy that he brings those values and that is going to represent our university and community extremely well.
"In the short time that I have gotten to know Larry and his wife Lana, who we are thrilled to have with us along with Larry's boys, I've really grown to like and respect him. Ladies and gentleman please help me to introduce and welcome our next basketball coach, coach Larry Eustachy.
"I stand in front of you extremely humbled, extremely, extremely humbled. Let's start by introducing - this is my lovely wife, Lana. Lana, you bought that dress, stand up and show it to everybody okay? My associate head coach from Southern Miss, Leonard Perry. Ross Hodge, one of our other coaches. Tiffany Beckham, that is also a new dress so you stand up too. My two sons, who I put way up there (motions to Moby stands), stand up you two and tell them 'Hi'. I told them to dress really nice for this and that is what we got.
"Not only did I want to go to a place that - by the way, it is great to see you guys here (motions towards players on the team). Thanks for coming; it means a lot to me. We had dinner last night but when we work out tomorrow, you may not like me tomorrow. We are friends for right now. I love it. But not only do you get great players but great student-athletes. I take a ton of pride in the character and character equates to graduation and staying out of trouble, etcetera, etcetera. In the eight years that I have been at Southern Miss - we just went to the NCAA Tournament and we had a couple guys who basically got a parking ticket for celebrating too loud but other than that, I haven't had a player convicted of a crime in eight years. I am extremely proud about that. Our guys go to class, stay out of trouble, work very hard and it is as simple as that.
"I wanted to go to a place that when it's over, I could enjoy and make friends for life. I coached at Utah State for a long time and have always liked the mountains. I grew up in Los Angeles and I have a place in a small town called San Clemente, a small beach town so I am familiar with both the mountains and the beach. I have the best of both worlds. Needless to say, I probably won't be lying on the beach for several years but I do have that.
"We are going to do great things here. We are going to do exceptional things here. I know that it starts with intelligent and high-character players with obviously a talent level. We have done that where we have been before.
"Jack talked about Southern Miss and my first office was a 20-year old trailer with a hitch on it. It is not real comfortable to coach in a trailer with a hitch on it and a diesel truck right next to the hitch but we accomplished some things that had never been accomplished there. We won 25 games, which they had never done. We went to the tournament, which is one of three times. More importantly, we turned the culture. There is a reason why I have made decisions to come to certain places. The reason why I chose Southern Miss was to change the culture; there is no basketball. In the south, it is all football. It is football, then it's spring football, then it's summer football. It's football, football, football. I counted 218 people in the stands at the first game. At the end of this year, we were getting at times, 6 or 7,000 but averaged well over 4,000. I believe I accomplished that and I am ready for a new role; that is why I stand in front of you right now.
"If I look tired, I am extremely tired. I have been on a plane - by the way guys (motions to his team), I am just getting over those steaks that were about as thick as this podium. I really enjoyed that but my stomach didn't; I finally digested that. You will find out about that as you get older. It is time to move on and close my final chapter in coaching.
"What is also very important to me is sobriety. It will be nine years in just a few days that I haven't had a drink. My plan was to find a place, called Colorado State, and donate a portion of my salary, a percentage every year and create a foundation for a sober living home. It is hard enough for a 47-year old man to get sober and then go back into society, let alone a student - I think there is an epidemic out there of binge drinking, etcetera, etcetera. Somebody at an early age, young adults that can admit they have a problem and attack that at an early age because it is a big problem when you're 47, a big setback.
"I want to establish a sober living home for the transition period from after you have gone to rehab, where you would get back into the mainstream of college and that is very important to me. It will not take away from my coaching; it will not take away from my recruiting. I will have other people run the foundation. When I am done coaching here, and once Law and Order is over, I am asleep. I don't want to do anything else so I have a lot of miles left and a lot of years left. We are going to do great things in basketball and this is just a beautiful place to continue with my goal of helping people.
"Adversity in my situation was on national TV, national radio. It is a great lesson. I don't think these things happen by mistake, they happen for a reason. I think someone stronger than me put me in that situation when I went to that fraternity party or whatever the heck it was.
"These pictures that you might see, those are staged pictures. I took a cab home from the parties I went to. I can show you a picture of an 88-year old man in a leprechaun costume during Halloween that I am kissing also. I am a kisser. I like to kiss and hug, Lana will tell you that. Those were staged but the life that situation took on of its own, changed my life by far for the better.
"I am more humbled. I never used that word and I have used it four or five times now so this is me. This is terrific. This is fantastic. The only regret that I have is that Tom (Hilbert) is not here right now. He is practicing right now and he said because of this, he had to move out of the gym and go to the practice facility. I told him to get used to that. That's a joke."
On Colorado State being his last stop:
On why he believes he can be successful:
On the fans:
On if he has had a chance to look the roster: