A M E S, Iowa, May 2, 2003 -- An Iowa State University basketball coach has begged for forgiveness after being suspended for drinking and partying with students.
The suspension on Wednesday came in the wake of press reports and published photos of men's basketball coach Larry Eustachy mingling and drinking with students in Columbia, Mo., and Manhattan, Kan., at post-game celebrations following Big 12 conference road games.
The 47-year-old coach says he's sorry about his behavior and he believes he is still the best man for the job at Iowa State.
Eustachy also admitted that his actions are the result of a deeper problem that he is now seeking help with.
‘I’m an Alcoholic’
"I was under the influence of alcohol" Eustachy told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "I'm an alcoholic, I'm a recovering alcoholic," he said.
The University's athletic director, Bruce Van De Velde, said he has recommended that the coach be terminated for "just cause," — specifically for failing to represent the school and its athletic programs in a positive manner.
His behavior at the parties, where he is seen in photos clutching beer cans and hugging or kissing college-age women on the cheek, has become the subject of talk shows and message boards in recent days.
The photos were taken by a University of Missouri student at a private party in a Columbia, Mo., apartment after Iowa State lost on Jan. 21. The photos were printed in the Des Moines Register.
Students who attended the party told the Iowa newspaper that Eustachy was drinking beer, and was arguing with someone at the party who objected to his being there and who was putting down his team.
Eustachy says he believes he would make the most of a second chance.
"I still feel I'm the best coach that can move this program along," Eustachy said. "I made some extremely poor and immature judgments, and again, I apologize extremely for my actions," he said.
‘We Have a Right to Expect Better’
Van De Velde says Eustachy should have known better than to party with students half his age.
"I cannot and I do not condone Coach Eustachy's behavior," Van De Velde said. "Regardless of the reason, we have a right to expect better from such a prominent member of the Iowa State community."
Eustachy, who was suspended with pay, has until Monday to appeal Van De Velde's recommendation. Eustachy said he he and his wife are discussing whether or not he will appeal.
Eustachy's wife, Stacy, has seen the photos of her husband kissing young women at the parties, but is standing by him.
"He made a big mistake," Stacy Eustachy said. "He knows it. He stood up and decided, well, I need to make a change, here. I feel good about that," she said.
Eustachy, who has been Iowa State's coach for five years, is the first ISU men's basketball coach to lead a team to back-to-back conference titles. He led Iowa State to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament in 2000, when he was named national coach of the year. He has been a head coach for 13 years, and his teams have compiled an overall 260 to 145 record. At Iowa State, Eustachy's record is 101-59.