Larry Eustachy’s $1 million-a-year job as men’s basketball coach at Iowa State University might well be in jeopardy, and a former St. Louis U. High student and his camera played a part in the controversy.
Sean Devereaux, 21, snapped several photographs of Eustachy at a party at Devereaux’s apartment in downtown Columbia, Mo., in the early-morning hours of Jan. 22, a few hours after Missouri beat Iowa State 64-59 at Hearnes Center. Eustachy, 47 and married, is shown in the photos with a beer can in his hands, embracing young women and kissing them on the cheek.
Devereaux, a junior English major at Missouri, sent 12 negatives to the Des Moines Register, which published the photos Monday, along with a story that quoted several people who attended the party. The story also said Eustachy had partied with students after a game at Kansas State in January 2002 and “wound up in an argument with a student who found the coach’s arm around his 19-year-old sister.”
Eustachy arrived at the Columbia party with Mizzou basketball player Josh Kroenke, although Devereaux said he wasn’t sure whether they had come together. “Josh hangs out a lot with the guys who live above us,” Devereaux said. “They might have just showed at the same time and talked to each other.”
MU officials refused Tuesday to make Kroenke, 22, available for an interview. Devereaux said no other Tigers players were at the party, nor were any Mizzou coaches. He said Eustachy arrived with some “other old guys” but that he didn’t know whether they were Iowa State assistant coaches. According to the Register, Eustachy does not like to fly and usually drives to games while the team goes by chartered airplane. The team returns home immediately after the game. Eustachy often drives back the next day.
Eustachy’s appearance was a surprise, Devereaux said. “It’s not every day you get a guy who makes like $1.2 (million) in your living room, just hanging out,” he said. But he added that Eustachy quickly wore out his welcome.
“His friends tried to get him to leave about 45 minutes after he got here, but he wouldn’t leave with them,” Devereaux said. “At first it was kind of cool. But then after his (friends) left, it was kind of like, `What are you doing here, guy?'”
Later Monday, after the story and photos appeared in the Register, Eustachy’s attorney issued a statement in which Eustachy is quoted as apologizing for his behavior. Iowa State officials have declined to discuss what actions, if any, might be taken. Eustachy has a 101-59 record in five seasons at ISU.
At least one member of the school’s board of regents has called for his ouster. In an editorial in Tuesday’s editions, the Register also called for Eustachy’s removal.
Devereaux said he began taking photos soon after Eustachy arrived. “He posed for most of the photos, probably three-fourths of the ones I took,” Devereaux said. “But after I’d take that first picture, (the girls) would try to squirm out from underneath his arm and he’d lean over and try to stick his tongue in their ear.
“After a while, they said, ‘He’s creeping me out. I don’t want any more pictures.'”
The Register interviewed five other party-goers and reported that their stories supported Devereaux’s account of the evening’s activities. Mizzou sophomore Elizabeth Noce told the Register: “We thought it was really funny he was there, and then as the night progressed, he was drinking more and more. The comments he was making to some of my friends while he was there turned inappropriate.”
Devereaux said although several friends urged him to send the photos to the media, he took no action for nearly two months. Then, after another friend encouraged him to contact the Register, Devereaux talked with reporter Tom Witosky and mailed the negatives. Devereaux said he wasn’t paid by the newspaper.
“You’re a public figure, with a wife and kids, and making that kind of money, you’re supposed to represent your school in a certain way,” Devereaux said. “You shouldn’t go around doing that.”
Although Devereaux acknowledged that he “feels sorry for (Eustachy) in a way,” he said doesn’t regret making the photos public.
“His actions … however that university feels they have to deal with it, that’s how they should deal with it,” he said. “Whatever they see fit is what’s going to happen.”