Thompson Still Backing Eustachy

One of Iowa State basketball's most influential figures continues to stand behind his head coach getting a second chance.

Legendary Cyclone great and Cyclone Television Network color commentary man Gary Thompson spoke with Cyclone Nation Friday morning. He remains on the side of embattled Cyclone coach Larry Eustachy, whose termination was recommended by athletic director Bruce Van De Velde in a Wednesday press conference.

"The first time that I was aware of Larry Eustachy's problem was on Tuesday, when he called me as he was on his way back from wherever he had gone for treatment," said Thompson, who also acted as CN's Basketball Insider last season. "He told me that he had a problem, ‘I'm an alcoholic and I've been addressing it.' I asked him if he was admitting he had a problem and seeking treatment. He said, ‘Yes.' I told him if that's the case and you admitted you've got a problem, are seeking treatment and continue treatment, I said I could support his getting another chance to coach at Iowa State."

Thompson believes Eustachy took a key first step in fighting his addiction a few weeks ago when he began seeking counseling.

"I have compassion for people that have that type of problem," Thompson said. "People certainly need help. The first thing starts when you admit to yourself there's a problem.

"That was the first time that I was aware of it Tuesday, because I've never been in a situation with him or involved with him when he's been intoxicated ever. I've not run in those circles. My contacts with Larry are in basketball, practice and going out after practice to have a sandwich or for dinner. I've never seen that side."

While it remains unclear what will come out of Eustachy's future appeal of Van De Velde's proposal that he should be fired, Thompson did have this to say about what his thoughts would be if the coach couldn't hold up his end of the bargain.

"I said I'm the first guy to tell you that if you get the chance and can't live up to the obligations and after the sanctions were to come down from Iowa State, I would be the first guy in line to say that you need to leave the program."

Asked to share his thoughts on the recent suspension of assistant coach Steve Barnes and recent happenings with this situation, Thompson said he had no comment.

"That's basically all I can say right now," he said. "There's too much riding on everything right now."

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