It's been a long time for Wyoming fans and officials waiting for a new mens basketball to be announced. With Heath Schroyer fired with six weeks remaining in the season there was has been plenty of time for fans to make up their wishlist for qualities the next coach should have. And now with more free time fans have done everything possible to try and find out who the next coach maybe.
There was the love affair with Billy Gillispie but Wyoming never interviewed him. This angered a number of Wyoming fans who hoped that UW could hire a coach quickly who wasn't already with a team and before a big name program could grab him. Texas Tech was not deterred by his past and jumped on Gillispie quickly after they let go of Pat Knight. This left more time for grumbling from fans and more fine tuned inspection of the likely candidates.
How long has the wait been now?
We're now sitting at 50 days since Wyoming has had a full time head coach or if you want to get more accurate here are some smaller units of time.
- 4,320,000 seconds
- 72,000 minutes
- 1200 hours
- 7 weeks (rounded down)
With the fans going stir crazy and tracking university officials as they fly in state airplanes the heat has definitely been felt by the administration. Last week Wyoming AD Tom Burman issued this letter to fans and the media.
March 24, 2011
A Letter From University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman to Wyoming Fans,
I am writing this letter to you, our fans of University of Wyoming Athletics, to update you on our search for a new men’s basketball coach.
We realize there is a great deal of interest in our search for a new head coach. We, like all of you, are anxious to return our men’s basketball program to the level of excellence that we’ve known in the past.
While we understand the high level of fan interest in the individuals we are pursuing as candidates for this position, a key factor in being able to interview successful coaching candidates is to maintain the confidentiality of the process. There is a good chance that some of these successful coaches would not be willing to interview with us if their names were made public. We ask for your understanding on this point.
For obvious reasons, we want to hire your new head coach as soon as possible. I am very encouraged by how our national search is proceeding, and the interest level we’ve experienced from some outstanding candidates has been very positive. Our goal is to announce a new head coach in the very near future.
For media covering University of Wyoming Athletics, we understand and respect you have a job to do. We thank you for your understanding of this process, as well.
I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate our Cowgirl Basketball team on their successful season, and we hope to see many of you tonight when Coach Legerski and the Cowgirls host Colorado in the Arena-Auditorium.
Go Cowboys and Cowgirls,
Burman has stated before that he wants to have the hire completed by the Final Four. Well with some amazing upsets in the tournament all the likely candidates should be available now that Florida and Kansas are out. Larry Shyatt the assistant from Florida and Joe Dooley an assistant from Kansas are now free to interview for the position.
Wyoming has already interviewed Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor and St Johns assistant Mike Dunlap last. Billy Kennedy from Murray State is a former Wyoming assistant from the 80's has also been linked to the position. There was smoke about former Oregon coach Ernie Kent but little fire.
The two candidates with strong Wyoming ties are Steve Gosar from the College of Southern Idaho and Jeremy Cox an assistant at Southern Florida. Gosar just led his team the NJCCA title and has officially been named a candidate. Meanwhile Cox has stated that coaching in Laramie would be his dream job but so far the interest has not been returned.
The Wyoming Athletics department does deserve a pat on the back for successfully following the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" creed. In a small town like Laramie where news can spread quickly it has been very hard to get solid information on the process. If there is a secret candidate that Burman has interviewed then no one has caught wind of it yet.
Any final interviews should be completed early this week and the only hang up may be waiting for larger name programs to make their decision. And if one program hires a current head coach then another school now has opening. Example: Cuonzo Martin just was hired by Tennessee and now Missouri State needs a coach. That opening could draw some interest from the likes of Kennedy was also linked with Bradley before they hired Geno Ford on Sunday.
Taylor has been linked to the opening at Utah and Dunlap has been mentioned with several openings besides Wyoming. Dooley has been one of the top assistants in the nation for a long time and could draw interest from across the country. Shyatt has had a great career at Florida but the fact that he isn't getting interest from other schools could be in his favor as a quick hire.
The biggest regional opening is at Utah and I'd say after that peg falls then Wyoming should be able to lock down their next coach soon after. No matter who is hired some fans will be upset and others will be happy. It seems like everyone has a dog in the fight and will have a strong opinion on the final choice.
If you're looking for some front runners I'd have to say that Dunlap and Shyatt are what make the most sense at this time. During his career Dunlap has been known as an X's and O's mastermind with Front Range roots while Shyatt has some experience at Wyoming even though it was checkered.
The one thing that everyone will agree upon once a hire is made - "Thank God it's over!".