Statement From Shyatt As He Steps Down As Cowboy Basketball Coach

by staff–21 Mar ’16

This is a very emotional moment for me and my family. As has been announced, I am stepping aside from my position as head basketball coach. 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.

When we made the decision to return to Laramie 5 years ago, we had some unfinished business. First and foremost, we wanted to help restore respect, excitement, and competitiveness to this proud basketball program. I wanted us to build a championship team…something that we were able to accomplish last season. I did not do this alone…I was fortunateto assemble an incredible staff who had the same visions as I did. Few programs have a staff of such loyal, smart, and committed individuals as do the Cowboys. The players we recruited were aware of the challenges they faced in their quest for success, but, for the most part, they stayed the course, and their focus and determination not only led to individual and team accomplishments over the past 5 years, but have resulted in attracting a new group of talented young men who have committed themselves to continuing this success.

My second piece of unfinished business was to be able to coach with my son. It was always a dream of mine to work side by side with Jeremy, and while we haven’t always agreed on things, I consider this time with Jeremy to have been the best time of my 43-year coaching career.

I have all the confidence that the Wyoming basketball program will not skip a beat, as I know the competence of this talented staff and the potential of our current players will result in nothing less than success.

Very few coaches survive in this profession for 43 years. Fewer get to exit on their own terms. I have been so fortunate to be able to do both. But, I have not been on this journey alone.

The true “heroes” through all of this are my wife, Pam, and my sons, Jeremy, Geoff, and Philip. They sacrificed much over the years…my time, my attention, my presence during important life events. Because of me they had to move many times, leaving behind friends and places they called “home”. But, through it all, they remained my biggest supporters and without their strength and love, I would have left coaching long before this.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to my “mentors” who, showed me what to do to be successful, what mistakes should be avoided, but more importantly, to never trade integrity for wins. While there were many times I experienced the pain and pressures of losing, I was not willing to trade success for self-respect.

Pam, who is my best friend, and I do not know, yet, what the next “chapter” of our lives will be. Spending some much needed time with Geoff and his wife, Susie, in Atlanta, Philip in South Carolina, my mother, age 90, and Pam’s mother, age 95…both in Ohio…is at the top of the list. But, with Jeremy and Felicia here, we will certainly not be strangers to Laramie and Cowboy basketball.

Please know that Pam and I are truly grateful to everyone for allowing us to return and give back to all of you some of what you have given to us. I know that there will be many who might be distressed by my decision. I hope that when all is said and done, you will believe how much we will always love this school, the state, and all who are a part of both, and wish us well.

Thank you and Go Pokes.