(Laramie, Wyo.) – University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced Tuesday he is extending the contract of head men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt through April of 2019. Shyatt recently completed his third season at Wyoming since returning to UW in the spring of 2011 and his fourth overall season at Wyoming, having also served as head coach of the Cowboys for the 1997-98 campaign. Shyatt has led the Cowboys to a 78-50 (.609) record during his four seasons as head coach, has taken Wyoming to postseason play each of those four seasons and has dramatically improved the academic standing of the men’s basketball student-athletes during his tenure.
“I believe Coach (Larry) Shyatt has done an outstanding job of building our program for the future,” said Burman. “On the court, our team is now competitive with the top teams in our conference and nationally. What Larry and his staff have done in improving the academic performance of our men’s basketball student-athletes is equally impressive. I believe Coach Shyatt has our program headed in a very positive direction, and I wanted to assure that we could maintain that positive momentum. The best way to accomplish that was to show our commitment to Larry through an extension of his contract.”
“My wife, Pam, and I would like to thank Tom Burman, who is the main reason why we left Florida and returned to the University of Wyoming,” said Shyatt. “We also would like to thank President Dick McGinity and our Board of Trustees for the confidence they’ve shown in us.
“We are pleased that we have been able to instill a winning culture, both in the way our team members perform academically and on the court. We are certainly not satisfied with where our program is at, and our goal is to move our program into the upper echelon of the Mountain West. For us, it is about building a successful program, not simply building a winning team.”
The terms of Shyatt’s restructured deal include a five-year contract beginning May 2014, and running through April 30, 2019. Shyatt’s total guaranteed compensation package will earn him over $700,000 in 2014-15. Included in that package is a base salary of $205,008 in `14-’15.
Among the Cowboys’ accomplishments on the basketball court during Shyatt’s four seasons at the helm have been: guiding the program to a 20-win season his first season back in Laramie in 2011-12 (21-12 record) after taking over a team that had gone 10-21 the previous year; following that up with a second consecutive 20-win season in 2012-13 (20-14 record); leading the Cowboys to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) postseason tournament in three consecutive seasons (2012, `13 and `14); and guiding Wyoming to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 1998.
Included among the signature victories in Shyatt’s four seasons as head coach of the Cowboys were: a 68-62 home win over No. 5 ranked San Diego State in 2014; a 58-45 home win over No. 14 SDSU in 2013; a 68-66 home victory over No. 11 UNLV in 2012; two wins in 2011 and 2012 over University of Colorado teams that went on to earn NCAA Tournament bids — Wyoming defeated CU 65-54 in Boulder in 2011 and captured a 78-69 win over the No. 19 ranked Buffs in Laramie in 2012. Going back to Shyatt’s first season at UW in 1997-98, there were: a 58-55 home win over No. 10 ranked New Mexico; and a 62-56 home victory over No. 5 ranked Utah — that Utah team advanced to the NCAA National Championship game later that season before falling to Kentucky.
While at Wyoming he has coached All-Conference performers: Larry Nance (2014 First Team All-Mountain West Conference and All-Defensive Team); Leonard Washington (2012 Second Team All-Mountain West and 2013 Third Team All-MW and 2013 All-Defensive Team); JayDee Luster (2012 MW Defensive Player of the Year and 2012 Honorable Mention All-MW); Francisco “Paco” Cruz (2012 Honorable Mention All-MW); Jeron Roberts (1998 First Team All-Western Athletic Conference); Gregg Sawyer (1998 Second Team All-WAC and 1998 All-Defensive Team). Three of those players (Nance, Washington and Roberts) also earned National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District honors.
Shyatt’s four Cowboy squads have posted records of: 19-9 (in 1997-98); 21-12 (in 2011-12); 20-14 (in 2012-13) and 18-15 (in 2013-14). That averages out to 19.5 wins per season.
Academically, he and his staff’s emphasis on Cowboy basketball student-athletes achieving in the classroom has resulted in dramatic results. Since his return to UW, Shyatt’s Cowboys have raised their NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) score from a single-season score of 905 the year prior to his return in 2010-11, to a 938 APR after his first year of 2011-12 and a 940 for the 2012-13 season. For 2014-15 NCAA championships, teams must earn a 930 four-year average APR or a 940 average over the most recent two years to participate in championships.
During Shyatt’s time as head coach, eight Cowboy basketball student-athletes have earned their bachelor’s degrees at the University of Wyoming, including: Adam Waddell, May 2011; Arthur Bouedo, May 2012; JayDee Luster, May 2012; Afam Muojeke, May 2012; Boubacar Sylla, May 2012; Rob Watsabaugh, May 2012; Derrious Gilmore, August 2013; and Luke Martinez, August 2013.
The Cowboys also recorded the highest team grade-point average in 10 years, when they achieved a 2.86 team gpa during the 2013-14 school year (including the summer semester). That culminated a steady rise in team gpa from a 2.19 in 2010-11 (the year prior to Shyatt’s return), to a 2.51 in 2011-12 and a 2.81 in 2012-13.
Shyatt’s 2012-13 team had the highest number of Wyoming men’s basketball student-athletes to be named Academic All-Mountain West Conference since UW became a charter member of the Mountain West in 1999-2000. Four Cowboys earned that honor in `12-’13. Also in 2012-13, Wyoming had its first men’s basketball player earn Mountain West Scholar-Athlete honors since becoming a member of the Mountain West.
In the fall of 2013, one men’s basketball student-athlete was named to the President’s List, two made the Dean’s List and one made the Freshman Honor Roll.