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Colorado State Picks Eustachy

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Report: Hiring Of Kent Is ‘Blocked’

Colorado State University received an enormous amount of publicity — and even an Emmy Award — for its recent reality series on coach Tim Miles and his men’s basketball program titled “Season Pass.”

Even though Miles departed to take over the program at Nebraska last month, maybe CSU needs to do another reality show: “As The Rams Turn.”

On Wednesday, the confusion surrounding the school’s search for a new men’s basketball coach took yet another twist when CBSsports.com, which earlier had reported former Oregon coach Ernie Kent had the job, reported that a high-ranking school administrator blocked the hiring of Kent.

Later in the day, ESPN.com reported that Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy has been hired.

The Journal has learned that Eustachy, indeed, will be announced as the head coach today, ending a bizarre week of rumors and speculation. The Associated Press also reported Wednesday that Eustachy is the choice.

New Mexico associate head coach Craig Neal and New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies both interviewed for the job, and Neal was one of the finalists. Last Friday, CSU officials flew to Albuquerque to interview Neal, then flew to Las Cruces to interview Menzies that evening.

CSU administrators then brought Neal, Eustachy and Kent to Denver on Tuesday for second interviews.

Menzies was not in Denver for a second interview Tuesday. Early Tuesday evening, NMSU released a statement that athletic director Dr. McKinley Boston was starting the “process of sitting down with coach Menzies to review his current contract.”

But even before the Tuesday interviews, one website, examiner.com, reported on two occasions that Neal had been hired. Meanwhile, an Oregon TV station reported that Kent was the frontrunner.

Then after the Lobos’ annual team banquet Tuesday night, a gracious Neal told the Journal he received a phone call late that evening informing him that CSU was going in a different direction.

Apparently, a few different directions. Numerous reports had Kent getting the gig as of late Tuesday with the official announcement set for today.

Then came Wednesday, and reports of Kent getting blocked. Then Eustachy became the guy.

“People out there were reporting things that just weren’t true,” says Kelly Lyell, longtime CSU beat writer at the Coloradoan in Fort Collins, which also is reporting Eustachy’s hiring. “They were reporting that people had been offered the job and were hired, but my sources tell me that the only person who was ever offered the job is the person they will hire (today).”

Despite the roller coaster of emotions, Neal took the news in stride.

“Sure, I wanted the job, and I was disappointed,” he said Wednesday. “But I’m in such a good place here. I’ve really enjoyed my five years here and looking forward to next season here.”

It’s been a long road for Eustachy, 56, who has a career record of 402-258 in 19 seasons. He was a coach at Iowa State over a decade ago before his dramatic downfall. He resigned in 2003 shortly after photos of him partying with students surfaced. Eustachy went through rehabilitation to treat alcoholism and was given a second chance at Southern Miss.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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