June 15, 2001
Clemson, S.C. – Clemson Head Coach Larry Shyatt announced Friday that he would not serve as head coach of the United States men’s basketball team in the 2001 Maccabiah Games. The games will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel July 15-27.
Shyatt is the third United States coach to decide not to coach in the games. Michael Groves (softball) and Dave Pottruck (wrestling) have also decided not to serve as coaches in the games.
Shyatt also said that his assistants and administrators had decided not to attend the games.
The following is a letter Shyatt sent to the prospective members of his team on Friday.
To the players and parents of the USA Maccabi Men’s Basketball Team:
I am sure you all aware of the American Officials decision yesterday to send participants to the Maccabiah Games. In light of this decision, I would like to please share with you my position and explain to you my feelings at this point in time. As much as I would love to lead our USA Basketball Team in the pursuit of a life long dream to participate in this experience, I feel responsible to take the following position.
Gary Lieberman and I feel, as I am sure you also feel, that we would want to embrace the total experience as we worship the games. We feel that we can no longer provide the total experience that these Maccabiah games represent and still insure the safety of our team.
Our leadership has placed most of the responsibility on us to make an adult decision. Knowing that I may lose my position and never again have this once in a lifetime experience of coaching this elite team, I feel that it is in the best interest of all to postpone our involvement.
Hopefully I will be able to proudly coach this team in 2002, when the climate is more conducive and peaceful. Then we can all bring our families to our homeland to celebrate our heritage and enjoy our Maccabiah experience as we intended.
Please know that I have searched my heart and come to the conclusion I feel is the most responsible. I am prepared to make the announcement today to the Maccabi home office in Philadelphia, that I, regretfully, can not lead the team to Israel at this time. I trust and pray that our leaders will find it in their hearts to postpone this monumental event to a time when we all can, with assured safety for our US team, experience everything our heritage and homeland can offer. Please do not hesitate to call me or Gary with questions or concerns, or if you should need any assistance in the future.
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