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Larry Shyatt Named Clemson Basketball Head Coach

April 20, 1998

CLEMSON, SC–Larry Shyatt, NABC District Coach-of-the-Year at Wyoming last season, was introduced as Clemson’s head basketball coach Monday, April 20th. Shyatt succeeds Rick Barnes, who resigned on April 12th to become head basketball coach at Texas.

Shyatt, 46, was Clemson’s Associate Head Coach under Barnes between 1994-97. During those three years Clemson had a combined record of 56-34 and increased its victory total each year. The three-year stint culminated with a 23-10 record during the 1996-97 season. The Tigers advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and were ranked eighth in the nation in the final USA Today Coach’s Poll, the highest final ranking in Clemson basketball history.

This past season he coached Wyoming to a 19-9 overall record, the best winning percentage by a Cowboy team in 10 years. Wyoming defeated two top 10 teams, New Mexico and National Finalist Utah, along the way. (Ironically, Shyatt once coached for both schools.) The triumphs were key victories in Wyoming securing an NIT bid, the Cowboys’ first postseason appearance since 1990-91. He was named the Coach of the Year in the Mountain Division of the Western Athletic Conference.

Shyatt has been around successful programs all his career. He has been on a staff that has gone to postseason play 14 of the last 15 seasons. Each of the last five teams at New Mexico, five of the six teams at Providence, all three of the Clemson teams, and this year’s Wyoming team, advanced to postseason play thanks in large part to Shyatt’s coaching. He has been in coaching at the college level for 23 years and his teams have averaged 18 victories per season.

The native of Cleveland, OH began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Akron in 1973-74. He then coached at Utah for the 1975-76 season before moving to Cleveland State in 1976-77. The 1980-81 team won a school record 18 games. After six seasons at Cleveland State, he began a six-year stay at New Mexico and the Lobos went to five NITs in those six years. Among the victories was an upset of fourth-ranked UCLA in 1983.

In 1988-89, Shyatt joined Barnes at Providence. The Friars won 108 games in those six seasons, including the school’s only Big East Championship in 1994. Providence went to three NCAAs and two NITs during the six years and posted 17 wins over Top 25 teams. In those six seasons, every senior letterman graduated.

In 1994-95, Shyatt joined Barnes at Clemson as associate head coach. The Tigers were picked last in the ACC preseason poll for that year, but Clemson won its first 10 games and was ranked as high as16th in the nation at midseason. Among the upsets was a victory over ninth-ranked Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Clemson’s first win at Duke in 10 years. The Tigers went on to an NIT bid.

In 1995-96, Shyatt helped recruit a top 10 class and the group of seven freshmen propelled Clemson to its first NCAA berth in six years. The 18-11 Tigers defeated every team in the ACC that season, including a landmark 75-73 victory over North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, Clemson’s first-ever win over the Tar Heels in that event.

The 1996-97 season saw Clemson start the season with a 16-1 record and the club reached an all-time high number-two ranking in January. Clemson played the ninth toughest schedule in the nation that year, a schedule that Shyatt supervised. Clemson defeated five top 25 teams that year and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before suffering a double overtime loss to Minnesota in the Midwest Regional in San Antonio.

During his three years at Clemson, Shyatt also supervised the academic progress of the Tiger players. During the 1996-97 academic year the squad had its highest GPA in 14 years.

On March 11, 1997 Shyatt was named the 18th head coach at the University of Wyoming. He put the Cowboys back on the college basketball map in his first season. The program had suffered through five consecutive non-winning seasons prior to his arrival. But, Shyatt took the team to postseason play and a 19-9 ledger.

A leader as an administrator in the coaching profession, Shyatt is a past chairman of the NCAA Assistant Coaches Committee. Earlier in his career he became the first assistant coach in the nation to sit on the National Association of Basketball Coaches Board of Directors. Within recent years, he was named one of the top 15 assistant coaches in the nation by Basketball Times and one of the top 10 recruiters in the country by Sport Magazine.

A three-time letterman at College of Wooster (Ohio), Shyatt earned his bachelor’s degree in 1973. He earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Akron in 1975 when he was a graduate assistant coach. He played his high school basketball at Cleveland Heights High School in Ohio and was a member of the graduating class of 1969.

He and his wife Pam have three sons, Jeremy (5-15-81), Geoffrey (1-15-84) and Philip (5-11-86).