HEAD COACH LARRY SHYATT
A proven winner at the highest level of college basketball, Larry Shyatt begins his sixth season as head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys in 2015-16. He has guided UW to postseason berths in each of his first five seasons at the helm, after a NIT appearance in 1998, CBI appearances in 2012 through 2014 and the NCAA tournament in 2015. Shyatt came to Wyoming after seven seasons as an assistant at Florida and was announced as the 21st head coach of the Cowboys by Athletics Director Tom Burman on March 31, 2011. Entering 2015-16, Shyatt has a 173-144 overall record in his 10 seasons as a head coach, including 103-60 in five seasons at Wyoming.
The Pokes had a historic season in 2014-15, as Wyoming went 25-10 overall and 11-7 in the Mountain West en route to winning the conference tournament and claiming a berth in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001-02. The Cowboys' four-straight postseasons are a first in program history. Wyoming's 25 victories were its most since 1987-88, as the Cowboys reached 20 wins the fastest since 1951-52. The Pokes finished fourth in the league's standings, their highest finish since third in 2002-03, while their 11 MW wins tied the program's most ever in the conference. Wyoming was ranked in the AP poll's top 25 for one week, but received votes in both polls the majority of the season. The Pokes finished the season seventh in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 56.4 points per game, and second in fouls per game, committing just 13.7 per contest. Shyatt and the Cowboys also welcomed a crowd over 10,000 to the Arena-Auditorium this season for the first time since 2005. Shyatt also became the fastest UW coach to reach 100 wins with Wyoming's victory over Utah State on March 4, 2015.
The Cowboys earned an 18-15 overall record in 2013-14 to claim their third-straight postseason berth, a feat accomplished just four previous times in Wyoming's 109 years of basketball. The Pokes finished 9-9 in the MW for their first .500 or better record in conference play since going 7-7 in 2004-05, while their fifth-place finish in the standings was their best since third in 2002-03. Wyoming's nine MW wins were its most since winning the conference with 11 in 2001-02. The Cowboys were picked to finish seventh in the preseason poll. The Cowboys clearly showed they were more competitive than that, though, with 20 games decided by single digits, including eight by a single basket. Wyoming finished 19th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing 61.8 points per game, and 22nd in field goal percentage, shooting 47.8 percent from the field.
Shyatt guided the Pokes to a 20-14 overall record in 2012-13 for back-to-back 20-win seasons for just the 11th time in program history and the first time in a decade. UW also earned a postseason berth for the second-straight season with an appearance in the CBI, just the 12th time in program history to accomplish the feat. The Cowboys started the season with a program-record 13-0 mark, surpassing a 12-0 start to the 1950-51 season, to work their way into the national top-25 rankings for the first time since 1991. UW also earned two wins over ranked foes during the season, its most since 1997-98, and finished 24th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 59.1 points per game to opponents.
Shyatt led Wyoming to a 21-12 overall record in 2011-12 for the program's first 20-win season since 2002-03, while the team's plus 11-game turnaround ranked 13th in the nation. UW's berth in the CBI was its first postseason appearance since 2009 and its first-round win over North Dakota State was the Cowboys first postseason victory since 2003. Wyoming finished sixth in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 56.2 points per game, and was the last team in the nation to allow an opponent more than 60 points. UW earned its first win over a ranked opponent since 2002 with a 68-66 upset of No. 11/13 UNLV on Feb. 4, 2012, in the Arena-Auditorium. Three Cowboys earned All-Mountain West honors at season's end, including MW Defensive Player of the Year JayDee Luster.
Shyatt returned to Wyoming after being a part of the Florida coaching staff for the previous seven seasons, joining the Gators' staff on May 10, 2004. During his time at Florida, the Gators won the 2006 and 2007 NCAA National Championships, won Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and won SEC regular-season titles in 2007 and 2011. In 2011, the Gators advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. When Florida won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007, it became only the seventh men's basketball program in college basketball history to win back-to-back NCAA Championships. Over Shyatt's seven seasons in Gainesville, the Gators posted a record of 191-63 (.752), which was the best record in the SEC during that span of time, and they averaged 27 wins per season.
In his one season guiding the Wyoming basketball program in 1997-98, Shyatt took over a team that was 12-16 the year prior to his arrival and guided the Cowboys to a 19-9 (.678) record and an appearance in the 1998 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Also during the 1997-98 campaign, Shyatt's Cowboys defeated eventual NCAA National Runner-up Utah by a score of 62-56 in Laramie. The Cowboys, who had been picked fifth out of eight teams in the Mountain Division of the Western Athletic Conference preseason poll, finished the season in third place behind Utah and New Mexico, posting a 9-5 conference mark. Wyoming also defeated the Lobos in Laramie that season. Shyatt was named the WAC Mountain Division Coach of the Year in 1998, and was selected by his peers as the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 13 Coach of Year. His `97-'98 Cowboys posted a 13-2 (.867) home record and were 6-1 (.857) in conference home games.
Known as one of the outstanding basketball minds in the country, Shyatt was named by Basketball Times as the top assistant coach in the nation four different times. The respect he has among his college coaching peers resulted in him being the first assistant coach to be named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors from 1987-90. Shyatt also has an outstanding reputation as a recruiter. During his time at Wyoming, the student-athletes he and his Wyoming staff brought to Laramie included: Anthony Blakes (NABC Second Team All-District, Second Team All-WAC), Josh Davis (Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, NABC First Team All-District, First Team All-WAC), LeDarion Jones (First Team Academic All-District VII), Brett McFall (UW Career Top 10 in 3-Point FGs and Assists), Chris McMillian (UW Career Top 10 in Assists and Steals) and Ugo Udezue (Second Team All-WAC). He also coached two players at Wyoming who earned individual honors in Jeron Roberts (NABC Second Team All-District, First Team All-WAC) and Gregg Sawyer (Second Team All-WAC).
During his 40 years as a college coach, Shyatt has been a part of 25 teams that earned postseason bids. Of those 25 postseason teams, 10 made NCAA Tournament appearances, with four advancing to the "Sweet 16", three to the "Elite Eight" and two to the "Final Four". He coached 12 teams to National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearances. Three of those NIT teams advanced to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and one played in the NIT Championship Game.
Between his time at Wyoming and Florida, Shyatt was the head coach at Clemson University for five seasons from 1998-2003. His first season as head coach of the Tigers, Shyatt led them to a 20-win season (20-15). The Tigers advanced to the 1999 NIT Championship Game before losing by one point, 60-61, to California. With his 20 wins that season, Shyatt became only the fourth first-year coach in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) history to guide his team to a 20-win season. Also during his time as head coach at Clemson, the 2000-01 team set a school record for three-point field goals in a season and recorded one of the biggest wins in school history with a 75-65 win over No. 1 ranked North Carolina on Feb. 18, 2001, breaking an 18-game losing streak to the Tar Heels. His record at Clemson was 70-84.
Shyatt served as the Associate Head Coach at Clemson for three seasons from 1994-1997 under now University of Texas head coach Rick Barnes. His final season at Clemson, he helped the Tigers advance to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament, before losing in the NCAA Regional Semifinals to Minnesota, 84-90, in double overtime. Clemson also earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament the year prior (1995-96). During those three seasons, the Tigers posted a record of 56-34.
Before moving to Clemson, Shyatt was an assistant on Barnes' staff at Providence College for six seasons from 1988-1994. Providence advanced to postseason play five of those six seasons, including three NCAA and two NIT bids. The 1992-93 squad earned its way to the NIT Semifinals in New York City. The 1993-94 Friars captured the Big East Conference Tournament Championship, on way to a 20-10 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. Providence's record during that six-year period was 108-76.
Shyatt also brings with him experience coaching in the West. In addition to serving as head coach at Wyoming, Shyatt was an assistant coach at Utah (1975-76) and associate head coach at New Mexico (1982-1988). The Utes posted a 19-8 (.704) record in `75-'76 and tied for second in the WAC. The Lobos won 20 games three times during the six-year span Shyatt coached in Albuquerque, and appeared in five consecutive NITs from 1984-88. Between his time at Utah and New Mexico, Shyatt returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, serving as an assistant coach at Cleveland State for six seasons (1976-1982). Over his final three seasons at Cleveland State, he helped the Vikings win 17, 18 and 17 games, respectively.
After playing college basketball at The College of Wooster for two years (1971 and 72), Shyatt had already made up his mind that coaching was the career he wanted to pursue. He became a student assistant coach at Wooster, and upon receiving his bachelor's degree in physical education, he was hired as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Akron. He served as a graduate assistant coach at Akron for two seasons (1973-74 and 1974-75) while completing his master's degree in secondary education. The next year he earned his first full-time coaching position at Utah.
Shyatt (April 8, 1951) will be 64 years old when the 2015-16 season begins. He and his wife, the former Pam Moore, have three sons -- Jeremy (May 15, 1981), Geoffrey (Jan. 5, 1984) and Philip (May 11, 1986). Jeremy serves as an assistant coach at Wyoming.