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Larry Shyatt And Wyoming Get Risky: Going "All In"

The first three months of the second Larry Shyatt tenure at Wyoming just wrapped up and it seemed like a blur.  After a painfully long search for the next Cowboy basketball coach things have not slowed down.  Shyatt quickly assembled a top notch staff, who then went right to work in order put together the first recruiting class.

So far the honeymoon period for Shyatt and Wyoming has certainly lived up to it's name.  Larry and his staff have been saying and doing all the right things and have been winning over the fan base rather quickly.  Even with the smooth sailing that has occurred it is important to remember how much risk both the school and Shyatt took when he was chosen to again lead the Wyoming Cowboy basketball team.


So a coach comes to your school, has some success and then bolts after just one year for another head coaching job.  Fans are badly hurt by the sudden departure of the coach and hold on to the bitter memories of when he left.  More then a decade passes and now you are again looking for a new coach.  So what does the school do?  Hire back the same guy who hightailed it out of there at the end of the 90's. 

That is essentially what happened with Shyatt returning to Laramie and the huge amount of risk that Wyoming took with their choice.  A good portion of your fans is still bitter about what this guy did to the school and then you bring him back?  What would stop history from repeating itself here.  Then you pay him a substantial amount more then your previous coach.  There were a number of big name coaches who were candidates for the job but the choice ends up being the former coach.  The possibility of isolating and hurting a large portion of paying fans is always great when hiring someone who had hurt them earlier.


In the college ranks coaches tend to move to different schools in order to move up and join more prestigious programs and earn larger paychecks.  After leaving Wyoming Shyatt coached at Clemson for four years.  Later he joined the Florida Gators as the top assistant under Billy Donovan.  Imagine now that  you are in a high profile job, making a great salary and winning conference and national championships.  Now say you're 60 years old and retirement is getting closer for you.  The easy move and the one most people would take is: staying put and then later retiring after finding that perfect beach front property.  Then you can just relax and spend your days taking in some rays and salt air.

So what does Larry Shyatt do?  Well the exact opposite:  he accepts a massive rebuilding project at a school on the high plains that is known for long and cold winters.  Says goodbye to his best friend and heads back to the place he left so quickly before.  The national media was surprised by the hire and often wondered: Who in their right mind would go back to Laramie at this stage in their life?  The answer could only be Larry Shyatt.      


It would be hard to ask for a better first 90 days for Larry Shyatt and Wyoming basketball.  If any fans that earlier wanted "anyone BUT Larry Shyatt" to be next coach and still feels that way, then they have done a great job of keeping it to themselves.  There have been plenty of fans who weren't happy with the hire at first who hanged their tune.  Several "I have to admit I was wrong" and "He's won me over" statements have been made in conversation and on message boards.  The attitude, message and actions of Larry Shyatt and the Wyoming basketball program have made believers out of a large percentage of Poke fans.

Whether this same success will happen on the basketball court and if the honeymoon continues this fall remains to be seen.  As of right now things are definitely looking up for Wyoming basketball under the second era of Larry Shyatt.  There was plenty of risk that was taken by both parties but that leap of faith looks to be paying off.  With risk you can earn big rewards or big losses.  The rewards are certainly showing up in this case.