It hasn’t been an altogether-successful ride for Larry Eustachy as the men’s basketball coach at Southern Mississippi, but the folks in Hattiesburg can’t say Eustachy is tone-deaf.
While Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun defiantly said “Not a dime back” when asked if he’d peel off any of the king’s ransom of a salary he makes to give it back to his cash-strapped state, Eustachy is refusing a $25,000 bonus owed to him because of an attendance incentive in his contract.
Eustachy’s USM team went 15-17 this season.
“I really compare it to AIG,” the former Iowa State coach said in an Associated Press story. “Why would I take a bonus when we went backwards?
“I just felt particularly during this recession that we are in and the situation our school is in, it just didn’t go right with me to accept anything above and beyond my normal contract. I’m not trying to make a statement. I’m just being myself.”
Eustachy’s salary package is for $380,000 a year, so he isn’t depriving himself of food or shelter. But $25,000 isn’t chicken feed.
Plus, the coach knows he can’t rest on winning 39 games over the previous two seasons when that 15-17 of this season comes at a time when he needs to build fan-interest, not lose it.
Eustachy is recruiting like the recruiting madman he can be, and promised “It will be the best talent that’s been here in 10 years, however it shakes out.”