Source: CSU officials don't intend for Larry Eustachy to return as coach

Colorado State officials are trying to negotiate a walk-away package for Larry Eustachy and don't intend to allow him to return as men's basketball coach, a source told ESPN on Friday.

The Denver Post, citing sources familiar with the situation, reported Thursday that CSU officials intend to fire Eustachy with cause for violating a zero-tolerance policy for abusive behavior with staff and players. The policy was implemented after an initial internal review of his behavior in 2013-14.

Eustachy was placed on administrative leave Saturday while the university said it was concluding an internal "climate assessment" into the culture of the program -- specifically Eustachy's behavior toward players and staff members.

On Thursday, the team boycotted its practice because of its growing frustration over lack of communication from the school about the internal investigation.

In a statement released by the school Thursday night, athletic director Joe Parker indicated that officials planned to meet with players to discuss the situation. Parker said the internal review was nearly complete and that CSU officials are scheduled to meet with Eustachy and his representatives early next week.

"Our student athletes have expressed concerns to us and we are working with them to address those concerns," Parker said in a statement. "Student athlete welfare has always been our top priority. While we are obviously limited in what we can release during an assessment, we will be meeting with our men's basketball team to update them on the situation."

Assistant coach Steve Barnes is serving as interim coach. The Rams have dropped seven straight games to fall to 10-16, 3-10 in the Mountain West Conference. Colorado State hosts San Jose State on Saturday.

Eustachy's contract with the school, which pays him about $985,000 this year, expires after the 2020-21 season. Eustachy, 62, has a 121-76 record at the school.

A 2013-14 investigation alleged that he created a "culture of fear and intimidation" and emotionally abused his players, according to the 90-page report completed by former Rams athletic director Jack Graham.

Graham, who hired Eustachy in 2012, recommended that Colorado State fire him after the initial investigation in 2014. But the school instead required Eustachy to attend anger-management sessions and apologize to his team. Eustachy also was given a zero-tolerance policy in regard to his behavior toward players, and he was told that a violation would result in his termination for cause.

"I believed Eustachy should be terminated and believed we had the basis to terminate for cause," Graham told The Associated Press in February 2017, after details of the 2013-14 investigation were released by the Coloradoan. "I was advised by [Colorado State president] Tony Frank that we did not have the basis to terminate for cause and that Eustachy was to be placed on a personal improvement plan."

According to documents obtained by the Coloradoan, Eustachy admitted that he had told his assistant coaches to "shut the f--- up" and called players "f---ing c--ts." He also acknowledged he "crossed the line" and later said he went "way over the line" when he was asked whether the atmosphere in his program was one of fear and intimidation. The investigation also revealed that Eustachy punched and broke dry-erase boards in locker rooms and threw unopened soda cans against walls.

When details of the 2013-14 report were released by the Coloradoan nearly a year ago, Eustachy said in a statement: "I am deeply disappointed on a very personal level that someone chose to publicize confidential information from my personnel file. That said, I fully recognize that I'm not perfect. I have my faults and strive every day to be better than I was yesterday."