Mind Over Sports

DID HEAD COACH LARRY EUSTACHY’S EXPERIENCE WITH ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS HELP HIS TEAM BEAT MISSOURI IN THE OPENING ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT? AND WAS HE ALSO HELPED BY THE SUB-PAR PERFORMANCE OF PHIL PRESSEY AND HIS OFF-COURT PROBLEMS?

Posted on: March 22, 2013

When Colorado State beat Missouri in the NCAA Tournament yesterday, I believe much of the credit should go to Alcoholics Anonymous and Colorado State Coach Larry Eustachy, who is a recovering alcoholic. By way of background, on April 28, 2003, The Des Moines Register carried a picture of Eustachy kissing several young women and holding a beer at a party near the University of Missouri’s campus just hours after the Tigers defeated Eustachy’s Iowa State Cyclones on January 22nd. The Register also reported that Eustachy had been seen at a fraternity party at Kansas State hours after his team lost to the wildcats. On April 30, athletic director Bruce Van De Velde suspended Eustachy with pay and recommended that he be fired for violating a morals clause in his contract. Eustachy held a press conference in which he apologized for his behavior and admitted he’d recently begun rehab treatment for alcoholism. Eustachy initially indicated he would contest the suspension. Instead, on May 6, he announced his resignation. I believe Coach Eustachy has applied the principles of what he has learned at AA meetings to his team meetings with positive results; that is, sharing personal issues with each other in a controlled group setting and reaching out to a higher power. That’s a combination that’s hard to beat. And they were helped by the sub-par performance of Missouri’s Phil Pressey. Over the years I’ve found that when a male college athlete performs poorly, one of the major reasons is a relationship with a girlfriend that’s gone sour. No one will ever know for sure, unless Pressey comes forward and acknowledges that he was having personal problems away from the basketball court.

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