Why I’m Rooting For Southern Miss Hoops

whiskeyLarry Eustachy is now the hoops coach at Southern Mississippi.

A little over a half decade ago, when he was at Iowa State, he was legitimately in the conversation about the next great hoops coach. He was already a member of the Party Boy Hall of Fame. He was hangin’ with Betty Coed. And all her sorority sisters. Always with a drink in hand.

Larry Eustachy lost his job. And found a life.

To salvage his career, Eustachy entered treatment for the deadly disease which with he is afflicted. Alcoholism. Six years later, Eustachy remains sober, and, reading between the lines of his interview with Parrish, is an active daily participant in a 12 Step recovery process.

The purpose of Gary Parrish’s interview was to provide perspective on the Billy Clyde Gillispie situation. Gillispie, recently arrested in rural Kentucky for DUI, has entered John Lucas’s rehab facility in Houston. Eustachy publicly expressed his support and willingness to share his experiences, hoping to give strength and resolve to Gillispie to stay the course.

You can read Parrish’s award worthy column here.

In the interview, Eustachy correctly parallels the diseases of alcoholism and cancer. He knew it would bring out the scoffers. Which it did. Parrish wrote a follow up column about the comments he received. It’s linked in the first story, or you can get to it here.

I’ve often said reiterated that I don’t comment at this venue on the personal lives of the sports personalities I cover, the men and women who are important to folks here in Kentuckiana. And I certainly gave Gillispie way more than my allotment of shit over his behavior while he was UK coach.

But this is no time for silence.

Of all the diseases from which people suffer, alcoholism and drug addiction might be the most misunderstood. Comments online and on the street about Gillispie’s situation indicate that.

So it is. And so it shall probably remain.

Such a pity.

I now pray for Billy Gillispie as well as for alcoholics and drug addicts who still suffer and patients battling cancer as I have during the course of my recoveries from those equally debilitating diseases.

I don’t in any way mean to condone some of Gillispie’s well chronicled life mistakes while at UK, and elsewhere for that matter. But I do understand that he has the opportunity, if he gets and stays sober, to avoid such gaffes in the future.

I hope he makes it.

And I hope Larry Eustachy’s Southern Miss Golden Eagles make it to the dance. But know that, at least for today, he’ll be okay if they don’t.