Colorado State University head football coach Jim McElwain speaks to a crowd at The Boathouse Pub on Thursday afternoon in Steamboat Springs.

Photo by John F. Russell

Colorado State University head football coach Jim McElwain speaks to a crowd at The Boathouse Pub on Thursday afternoon in Steamboat Springs.

New CSU football, basketball coaches visit Steamboat

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Colorado State head basketball coach Larry Eustachy speaks to a crowd at The Boathouse Pub on Thursday afternoon in Steamboat Springs.

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Colorado State University head football coach Jim McElwain speaks to a crowd at The Boathouse Pub on Thursday afternoon in Steamboat Springs. McElwain visited Steamboat Springs along with new men's basketball head coach Larry Eustachy.

— Outside of an appearance in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this past season, there hasn’t been much for Colorado State University sports fans to get excited about in recent years.

But to hear Colorado State University radio man Brian Roth tell it, right now is the most exciting time to be a Rams fan.

“In 12 years this is about as excited as I’ve been with Colorado State athletics,” Roth said.

Why?

There is a renewed sense of commitment toward the university’s athletics programs, highlighted by the recent hirings of Larry Eustachy as men’s basketball coach and Jim McElwain as football coach.

Eustachy and McElwain met with alumni Thursday at The Boathouse Pub in downtown Steamboat Springs as part of the “RamStorming” tour.

The tour ran up and down the Front Range from 2008 to 2010. It took last year off before being resurrected this year in light of the high-profile coaching hires. The group was in Castle Rock on Tuesday, Breckenridge and Grand Junction on Wednesday and Steamboat on Thursday.

“We’re people who like people,” Eustachy told a group of about 20 fans and supporters in Steamboat. “That’s why we came here. There is a new vision, and it’s changing. If you’re here, you need to spread it.”

The two coaches come from highly successful backgrounds.

Eustachy helped Iowa State to an Elite Eight appearance in 2000. He took the job at Southern Mississippi in 2004 and helped them to the NCAA tournament last season before being hired in Fort Collins.

“I want to win a national championship at CSU,” said Eustachy, who could earn as much as $1.1 million a year. “If we think any less, we’re not doing our players, alumni or faculty justice. Butler and VCU have gone to the Final Four. Why can’t that be our dream?”

This year’s team should again be good; it returns nearly everyone from last year’s squad.

“It’s going to get where you can’t get a ticket to watch us play,” Eustachy said.

The job will be tougher for McElwain, who comes from the University of Alabama, where he won two national championships as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator.

Colorado State has gone 9-27 the past three seasons, but McElwain said that didn’t dissuade him. He is originally from Montana and probably could have found a head coaching position at a more prestigious football school.

But heading west and buying into the direction of CSU President Dr. Anthony Frank and Athletics Director Jack Graham convinced him to make the move to Fort Collins.

“We want to expose Fort Collins and CSU to the nation,” McElwain said. “We want to put us on the map. I grew up in Montana and know all about keeping it a secret. But we really have a sleeping giant here.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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