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News Nuggets, 03.26.04

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Humble Eustachy seizes new chance at USM


03.25.04: Eustachy resurfacing at Southern Miss... .. Towe gains security at New Orleans... .. Calipari cops regional coaching award... .. Glantz-Culver lines for NCAA & NIT games... USC, LSU cross paths at last — at the White House... .. More...
03.24.04: Marquette breaks Broncos to advance in NIT... .. UAB coach brushes off Auburn speculation... .. Penders envisions return to glory for Houston... .. Women parallel men in TV ratings surge... AP All-America Team... .. More...
03.23.04: NCAA to take over policing of grad rates... .. Tournament TV ratings skyrocket... .. Irish reduce C-USA to one NIT survivor... .. Pirates still anchored in baseball polls... .. More...
03.22.04: 'Forty minutes of hell' takes UAB to Sweet 16 ... .. All-talk, no-walk Bearcats sent packing by Illini... .. Cowboys lasso Tigers early and cruise to Regionals... .. Late Vandy flurry extends State's round-of-16 drought... .. More...
03.21.04: The one that got away could haunt Huggins ... .. Former Razorback Richardson backs Blazers... .. Calhoun-disciple Leitao comes up short against mentor... .. Injury-plagued Houston tight end gains 6th year of eligibility... .. More...
03.20.04: Former shortstop hits home run in pursuit of ECU chancellor job ... .. UAB blazes path past Huskies to second round... .. Memphis bombs Gamecocks from long range... .. Second-half collapse eliminates Louisville... .. More...
No Nuggets Mar. 18-19, 2004.
03.17.04: Cal visit to 'The Rock' highlights USM football slate... .. Cincy clears Whaley to play on eve of tourney... .. Low blow leaves status of DePaul guard in doubt... .. Ex- Longhorns coach in running for Houston job... .. More...
03.16.04: Hamrick hires Kruger to restore Rebs' Tark-era glory... .. Inspiration for 'Pitt County Offense' returns to Stanford roots... .. Baseball polls... .. AP basketball poll... .. More...
03.15.04: NCAA, NIT sweep up eight C-USA teams... .. NCAA conference-by-conference selections... .. O'Leary, UCF seek redemption together... .. More...
03.14.04: Bearcats capture 4th tourney title... .. Cop charged after gun-shot in tush at ACC tourney... .. NCAA Tournament selection committee members... .. More...

HATTIESBURG — Contrite and thankful for another opportunity, 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 coach."

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 recruiting."

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 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 1980s.

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.

NCAA seeks protection for whistleblowers

KNOXVILLE — The NCAA has asked a court to rule that coaches cannot be sued for defamation over information they give to investigators.

The legal action is the first of its kind filed by the NCAA, and officials hope a favorable ruling sets a precedent.

"We want to make sure we send a clear message that those folks who participate should have the same protection by law that witnesses in legal proceedings have," Wally Renfro, spokesman for NCAA President Myles Brand, said Thursday.

The NCAA and American Football Coaches Association asked a state court for the legal protection after a former Alabama recruit's family demanded Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer publicly retract statements he made about the player and his mother to NCAA investigators looking into alleged violations at Alabama.

The NCAA claims Fulmer, the 2003 AFCA president, was abiding by its rules that coaches must cooperate with investigators. Fulmer and some of his assistant coaches were interviewed in March 2000 with the assurance of confidentiality.

"The threat of litigation ... creates a disincentive for candid and forthright reporting of violations of playing rules and thereby seriously diminishes the enforcement power of the NCAA," the association claims in its lawsuit filed March 10 in Knox County Chancery Court.

Bearcats catcher named to Bench watch list

University of Cincinnati senior catcher Steve Pickerell (Norwood, Ohio/Norwood) has been named to the initial watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, honoring the nation's best collegiate catcher. The award is sponsored each year by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and is named after the former Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame catcher.

The watch list will be narrowed down to 10 semi-finalists, who will be announced on May 20. The three finalists will be revealed on June 3, with the fifth annual award winner being announced at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 30.

Pickerell, in his second season as a Bearcat after transferring from Lake City CC, lead UC and ranked ninth in Conference USA with 12 home runs in 2003. Early this season, he is hitting .290 with one home run and three RBI. He is the second UC player to be nominated for the award, joining former Bearcat standout Chris Hamblen who was a semi-finalist in 2002. Pickerell is also one of four C-USA players up for the award, joining Tulane's Brian Bormaster, USF's Devin Ivany and Brad Wilcutt of Southern Miss.

Pickerell and the Bearcats are 2-10 on the year and return to action this weekend with three games in Louisville, Ky. UC will face Ball State at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, before battling Louisville in a non-conference game at 2 p.m. Sunday.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Page Updated: 02/23/2007

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