Wyoming fans will have to get used to another figure pacing the sidelines in 2016 as Head Coach Larry Shyatt announced his resignation Monday afternoon.
Rumors had circulated throughout the past week regarding Shyatt's plans for coaching going forward, and an announcement of a press conference to be scheduled for Monday was a solid indication.
"This is a very emotional moment for me and my family," Shyatt said. "This is not a decision that was made impulsively. Rather, it is a move that was arrived at after much soul-searching and discussion. I am ending my career here with the reluctant blessing of Tom Burman and the administration, and while they did their best to convince me to stay on, I believe that the timing of my decision is in the best interests of everyone involved."
Shyatt, 64, is walking away after a total of six seasons as the head coach of the Cowboys, with a one-year stint coming during the 1997-98 season. After the 1998 season, Shyatt took the head coaching job at Clemson. Struggling to put together a winner in five seasons at the helm in the ACC, he joined Billy Donovan's staff at Florida in 2004 and worked as an assistant for the Gators for seven years, learning from the best and coaching in big games.
In 2011, Shyatt returned to Wyoming for his second time around as Head Coach.
Shyatt compiled an overall winning record of 117-78 during his tenure and revitalized a success-starved community in Laramie, taking the Cowboys to the postseason five times in total with one NCAA Tournament berth and four CBI invitations.
The 2014-15 season was the peak of Shyatt's regime at Wyoming, as they posted a regular season record of 25-9, won the Mountain West Conference Tournament, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.
This past season was the worst season posted under Shyatt, finishing 14-18. The Cowboys were blown out by Utah State in Las Vegas in the first round of the MWC Tournament. Throughout the season, Wyoming struggled mightily in stopping teams down the stretch while relying on the scoring of Josh Adams every night.
Shyatt can be accredited with laying the ground work for Wyoming recruiting success in the future. Shyatt recruited and developed NBA first-round pick Larry Nance Jr. in 2015 (17th overall selection by the Los Angeles Lakers) and 2015-16 Mountain West Player of the Year and likely NBA pick this year Josh Adams.
Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman praised Shyatt for everything he brought to Wyoming basketball and the community.
"We are extremely grateful to Coach Shyatt for what he has done for these past five seasons, in building Wyoming basketball into a program Cowboy fans are proud of."
"From leading his team to the Mountain West tournament championship and an NCAA berth last year to the academic success of the young men who have played for him, he has built this program the right way."
Replacing Shyatt is assistant coach Allen Edwards. Burman interviewed Edwards to go along with assistants Jeremy Shyatt, Larry's son and Scott Duncan for the vacancy. Burman referred to Edwards's mix of coaching and playing experience as an attractive factor in the decision.
Before coming to Wyoming, Edwards won two championships as a player with Kentucky in 1996 and 1998 and was an assistant coach with prominent mid-major schools VCU, Morehead State, Townson and Western Kentucky and served as an unofficial assistant for his alma mater Kentucky.
Edwards, 40, brings a spark of youth in the Wyoming program that has seen dynamic players in Nance Jr. and Adams over the last two years and is setting the bar high.
"I think sky is the limit," Edwards said. "I'm not in the mindset of thinking that winning a title has to be a once every four or five years deal. I want to be able to compete for a championship year in and year out and stay within the top four year in and year out."