March 17, 2003
Clemson Head Basketball Coach Larry Shyatt resigned his position on Monday. He had served as head coach of the Tigers for the last five years, including this season’s 15-13 squad, the third straight year the team increased its overall victory total and winning percentage. He made the decision after a season ending meeting with Clemson Athletic Director Dr. Terry Don Phillips.
“I have had a wonderful career at Clemson,” said Shyatt, who first came to Clemson as an assistant under Rick Barnes in March of 1994. “I want to tell all the players I have coached at Clemson how much I appreciate the effort they gave to our program. I also want to thank all of my assistant coaches. I have been fortunate to work with a dedicated and loyal staff during my entire career at Clemson.
“I also want to thank the fans, especially the Clemson student body for their support. Our family developed some great relationships in Clemson and we look forward to continuing those in the years to come.
“I have put my heart and soul into this job, and that was especially the case this season. We made improvement in many areas under difficult circumstances due to the renovations of Littlejohn Coliseum. We worked as hard as we could with the resources made available to us.
“All of us would have liked to have seen the victories come more frequently. But, I am gratified with our team’s progress academically and socially over the last five years.
“The program is in good condition across the board, including balance on the roster when it comes to scholarship players by class and position. An outstanding new group will join the program next year.
“The program is also in good shape academically and in terms of the players’ character. The entire senior class (three scholarship and two walk-ons) will graduate this spring and summer. The team returns four starters for next year, including three starters who will be juniors. There are also some outstanding experienced reserves who I know will do an outstanding job in replacing our seniors from this past year.”
“But, I feel it is just time to give someone else the opportunity to coach this program. “Clemson is a wonderful place, a great place to raise a family. It will always be a special place for the Shyatts. We will have nothing but fond memories of Clemson University.”
“Coach Shyatt has been an outstanding representative of Clemson University,” said Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips. “Larry has been a model coach in terms of keeping the overall mission of the University at the forefront.
“A couple of weeks ago, he lectured to a marketing class one night after practice. How many coaches would do that in the middle of the season? We have five seniors this year and all five are on schedule to graduate by the end of summer school.
“He has had memorable accomplishments on the court. No Clemson fan who was in the coliseum two years ago when we defeated a number-one ranked North Carolina team will forget that game. No Clemson coach has a higher winning percentage against the Tar Heels in our history. “We appreciate everything Larry and his family have done for Clemson University and will help him any way we can in his future endeavors.”
Shyatt came to Clemson as an assistant coach under Rick Barnes in March of 1994. He served as associate head coach under Barnes for three years, including the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, years the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The 1996-97 team finished eighth in the final USA Today Coach’s poll, the highest final ranking in Clemson history.
At the conclusion of that season, Shyatt accepted the head coaching position at Wyoming. He led the Cowboys to a 19-9 record and a berth in the NIT in 1997-98, the program’s best winning percentage in 10 years. He defeated two top 10 teams that year, including national finalist Utah. He was named Coach-of-the-Year in the Mountain Division of the Western Athletic Conference.
Shyatt returned to Clemson as head coach for the 1998-99 season. In his first year he won 20 games, a record for a rookie head coach in Clemson history. He was just the fourth coach in ACC history to win 20 games in his first season.
The season included four victories in the NIT, leading to Clemson’s first appearance in the championship game of a postseason tournament in 60 years. Clemson defeated Georgia, Rutgers, Butler and Xavier before losing to California by just one point in the final possession of the game.
With the graduation of five seniors off the1998-99 team, Shyatt faced a rebuilding process. But the Tigers increased their victory total each of the last three years. During that time the Tigers recorded one of the top upsets in Clemson athletics history, a 75-65 victory over a #1 North Carolina team in Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tar Heels had won 18 consecutive games, and it was just the second time in Clemson basketball history that the Tigers had beaten the number-one ranked team.
This year’s Clemson team had a 15-13 record. The Tigers began the season with a 9-0 record, including a victory over NCAA Tournament bound Cincinnati, the second winningest program in college basketball in the first three years of this century.
This season also included an 80-77 victory over North Carolina, Shyatt’s third over the Tar Heels. He is Clemson’s most successful coach against the Tar Heels on a winning percentage basis overall and in home games. He leaves Clemson with a record of 70-84 for his five years and has an overall mark of 89-93 as a Division I head coach.
Many of Shyatt’s players have shown progress as a result of his guidance. This year point guard Edward Scott was named first-team All-ACC, the first Clemson point guard in 43 years to be honored as a first-team selection. Will Solomon was also a first-team choice in 2000 and Terrell McIntyre was a second team selection in 1999. McIntyre and Solomon both led the ACC in scoring. Shyatt has coached 16 players in his career who have gone on to play in the NBA.
Shyatt’s players have also been successful off the court. All five seniors on this year’s team are on track to graduate this year. The team had a GPA of 2.38 for the first semester and five players were named to the academic honor roll.
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