Colorado State suspended interim head coach Steve Barnes just hours before Saturday's Mountain West game against San Jose State, and assistant coach Jase Herl took his place, helping the team snap a seven-game losing streak with a 90-79 win.
Barnes took over on Feb. 3, when head coach Larry Eustachy was placed on administrative leave. Colorado State officials are trying to negotiate a walkaway package for Eustachy and don't intend to allow him to return, a source told ESPN's Mark Schlabach on Friday.
The Denver Post, citing sources familiar with the situation, reported Thursday that school officials intend to fire Eustachy with cause for violating a zero-tolerance policy for abusive behaviors with staff and players, which was implemented after an initial internal review of his behavior in 2013-14.
Athletic director Joe Parker told the team prior to Saturday's game that Barnes would be joining Eustachy on paid administrative leave as it concludes its internal "climate assessment" into the culture of the program, specifically Eustachy's behavior toward players and staff members.
Efforts to negotiate a separation package with Eustachy are ongoing.
Herl, 30, is a second-year assistant at Colorado State. The Rams are 11-16 overall and 4-10 in the conference after Saturday's win.
The players' celebration included dousing Herl with water bottles.
"He's just for us," center Nico Carvacho said, according to the Post, after scoring a career-high 26 points to go with 20 rebounds. "We have a really good relationship off the court with him. I think all of us do. It helps on the court. We just went out there and played for him, and he coached for us. We had some fun."
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.