Southern Mississippi gave Larry Eustachy a second chance after the former Iowa State coach’s career had gone belly up in 2003 after photos of him partying with students at Missouri came to light. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that his comeback has been a bust (and not a beer bust, either). After leading Cyclones to two NCAA tournament appearance in five seasons, he has yet to get the Golden Eagles to the post-season in his first four seasons, and at 14-14 it isn’t happening this year either.
So THE NEW YORK TIMES says that Eustachy did the right thing: he gave back a $25,000 bonus he had earned through ticket sales and various incentives. Granted, he kept his $380,000 base salary, and this might be seen as a cheap way to generate some goodwill and avoid being fired, but still: that’s about 3,000 12-packs of Natural Light we’re talking about (plus enough left over to keep the Omega Chi fire pit going all semester).
According to Eustachy, turning down the bonus is a reflection of how disappointed he is with the team’s performance:
“The university, fans and administration have been so supportive. I am part of the Golden Eagle family and I want the team and program to succeed more than anyone else does. To that end, until I can turn around the program I have told the administration that I do not want a contract extension and I will donate part of my compensation package back to Southern Miss to help during these difficult economic times. I want to win a championship at Southern Miss and I know that we can do it.”
You have to wonder if Eustachy would be doing this (and being so public about it) if the whole Jim Calhoun mess hadn’t happened just last week. But I would suspect that Calhoun at $1.6 million a year is a much better bargain than Eustachy at a quarter of the price. Plus, the odds of Calhoun being caught on camera trying to make time with a coed from, say, Providence, are pretty much zero.