Ohio State’s unbeaten, North Carolina’s on a roll heading into its showdown with Duke and Arizona’s got its best AP poll rankings cine 2007.
But I’d wager no fan base was more elated than Wyoming’s on Monday. That’s how unpopular Cowboys coach Heath Schroyer had become.
After three and a half largely unimpressive seasons, Wyoming fired Schroyer Monday. So this Wyoming native spent the afternoon judging the typical reactions on message boards, Twitter and Facebook.
The consensus: About $#@&!&% time! (Paraphrased.)
It wasn’t only Schroyer’s record (49-68), but his abrasive coaching style that turned off fans. People only like screaming coaches when they win. Nobody followed him on Twitter. (271 followers? Ouch.) Attendance was flagging. People wanted him gone as early as last summer!
An uninspiring 8-15 start (two of those wins came against non-Division I teams and another was vs. winless Centenary) apparently was enough. Well, that and the possibility that athletic director Tom Burman might’ve fired Schroyer to take attention off the flagging football program.
Sounds like a great time to aim high for a replacement. From Burman’s press release:
“Wyoming Basketball has a long, successful tradition. We have great facilities and a fan base that through the years has been extremely supportive. I’m confident with all those positive factors in place, we will be able to attract outstanding candidates to lead Cowboy Basketball in the future.”
Perfect! Except … it’s a no-win job.
It pays nothing (Schroyer made $160,000 a year). Recruiting’s a bear because the Cowboys are rarely on TV (that includes barely-watched TV network The Mtn) and Laramie’s not only isolated, but has frigid winters. Better be a great salesman to get out-of-state guys in there.
Even worse? Wyoming’s fired four of its last five coaches, hardly a vote of confidence for incoming coaches. The only one who wasn’t fired left after one season for Clemson. Schroyer’s predecessor, Steve McClain, was 157-115 in nine seasons, made the NCAA tournament or NIT in four of those seasons – and even had an NCAA tourney win on his watch. Schroyer was hired to improve the team’s academics and image.
Now Wyoming wants to win. Who does it get?
Assistant Fred Langley will finish the season as interim head coach while the school forms a national search committee, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. Some possible candidates include North Texas coach Johnny Jones, BYU assistant Dave Rice and South Florida assistant Jeremy Cox. A fan contingent wants ex-Cowboys star Marcus Bailey.
That not an inspiring list to Cowboys fans.
(Florida assistant Larry Shyatt’s name is out there, but he’s already been to Laramie once, back for the 1996-97 season. Seems awfully unlikely he’d return for a second stint when he’s happy in Gainesville.)
Wyoming’s in a tough spot. It fired an unpopular and unsuccessful coach, which was probably the right move. But unless it strikes gold with this new search, it’s gonna be back where it was four years ago when it turned to Schroyer — a coach who’ll never live up to the memories of Jim Stranagan, Bill Stranningan or Everett Shelton.
Sometimes having a proud history is your worst enemy.
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.