As Colorado State’s men's basketball team prepared to host San Jose State, the team was delivered a late surprise: Steve Barnes, who had been elevated to interim head coach a week earlier, had been placed on administrative leave and would not be leading the team that afternoon.
According to the Denver Post, athletic director Joe Parker alerted the team of the late-breaking news Saturday morning. Assistant coach Jase Herl stepped in and led the Rams to a 90-79 victory.
Barnes took over the team in an interim role after head coach Larry Eustachy was placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into his conduct. Barnes’ leave was the latest development in an ongoing controversy around the program, which saw student-athletes boycotting practice in response to what players described as a lack of transparency between the team and the athletic department.
Last week, the Post, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, reported that Eustachy’s tenure as head coach was over and that he would be fired. The school is said to be negotiating an exit plan with Eustachy. The school can avoid a $3 million buyout if Eustachy is fired for cause. After allegations of abusive behavior against players and staff emerged in 2014, the school put Eustachy under a zero-tolerance policy regarding his conduct.
The Post reports that Barnes had been an enabler of Eustachy’s alleged abusive behavior.