HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Contrite and thankful for another
chance, Larry Eustachy returned to coaching with Southern
Mississippi on Thursday.
Eustachy was introduced as the Golden Eagles coach, 10 months
after his embarrassing resignation at Iowa State.
"Sometimes until you totally bottom out, you don't really see
what's going on in your life," Eustachy said during a news
conference. "I hit rock bottom with nobody to blame but myself.
You can go one way or another ... I am a recovering alcoholic and
it's constant maintenance, it's constant work. But where I find
myself now, I've never felt better."
His four-year contract is worth at least $230,000 annually with
up to about $500,000 more in incentives, Southern Miss athletic
director Richard Giannini said.
Giannini said the opportunity came at "the right time in the
life of Larry Eustachy. It's the right time to have him as our
Eustachy, The Associated Press' coach of the year in 2000,
stepped down as the Cyclones' coach last year after photographs
were published showing him at a college party holding a can of beer
and kissing and being kissed by young women.
He led Iowa State to Big 12 championships in 2000 and 2001. In
2000, the Cyclones reached the round of eight in the NCAA
Tournament. Eustachy also spent three seasons as coach at Idaho and
five at Utah State. His career record over 13 seasons is 260-145.
Before resigning from Iowa State, Eustachy acknowledged publicly
that he was an alcoholic. Earlier this year, he said he had stopped
drinking and wanted to get back into coaching.
Eustachy said he isn't worried about other coaches using his
bout with alcoholism as a negative recruiting tool.
"I've faced negative recruiting all my life, and I always took
it as a compliment -- that means they're afraid of me," Eustachy
said. "The kind of guys I want get turned off by negative
New Orleans Hornets coach Tim Floyd, who coached with Eustachy at
Idaho, said he had talked with Southern Miss officials about two
weeks ago about Eustachy.
"It was very easy for me to say good things about him," Floyd
said. "Obviously, the coaching didn't need to be addressed. I've
never been more proud of anyone in my life ... the way he's
addressed his life and gone through rehab."
Eustachy succeeded Floyd at Iowa State.
Giannini said he first called Eustachy about two weeks ago, and
they met on March 17 in New Orleans. They exchanged several
telephone calls in the ensuing days.
Eustachy visited Hattiesburg on Tuesday and reached an agreement
with Giannini. Contract details were finished Wednesday.
"I wanted to get someone who had experience in the state of
Mississippi," Giannini said. "He couldn't have picked a better
place to resume his career."
Eustachy was an assistant at Mississippi State in the early
He replaces James Green, who resigned the day before the Golden
Eagles' final regular-season game. Southern Miss finished 13-15 in
Green's eighth season.
The Golden Eagles won a share of the Conference USA
regular-season championship in 2001, but have had three straight
losing seasons since then.
"This program has tremendous potential," Eustachy said. "It
isn't like there isn't tradition, which makes it a lot easier to
rebuild a program."