About a month ago we spoke with Jeremy Shyatt…while here is dad Shyatt. Former legend of coaching at Wyoming now coaching in Dallas for Rick Carlisle and Mark Cuban. He gave up being the head coach for the right situation. Great story about a family man, dedicated to his craft and ready to help all over the NCAA’s and beyond.
- Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your passion for basketball.
I was a competitive Swimmer for many years. In Junior High my coach talked me into playing a team sport instead of an individual one. From there I became infatuated with basketball. Coaching is truly in my blood. I grew up in Cleveland Heights Ohio. I am a huge Browns fan. Growing up watching Jim Brown and Lorey Kelly was the best.
- How did you get into coaching?
I played in Cleveland and I was All-City and from there went to the College of Wooster which was DIII but we had a heck of team. We went to the NCAAs. Senior year I was not getting along with my coach, who I am now friends with, and decided to coach my Senior year. And luckily, I have been able to do it for 40 years. I began as a graduate assistant at Akron, although I asked by Bobby Knight to work with him. I am married for 44 years and wanted to stay close to fiancé.
- How did you coaching career evolve.
I wrote to every DI staff in nation to get a job. Eventually I got a chance with Jerry Pimm, Utah. My wife was dental assistant $1.50 an hour and I was still a graduate assistant. My first assistant-coaching gig was at Cleveland State for six years. I also coached at New Mexico and Providence. Then in 1997 I became the Head Coach at Wyoming. That was for one year. It was a Cinderella year and we went 19-6. Rick Barnes had left Clemson and I went back there for five years. Eventually I joined Billy Donavon at Florida for two National Championships. In 2011, one of my best friends was the AD at Wyoming and got me to go back there and clean up the program. I was there for five years and we got to cut down the nets as we won the Mountain West Championship. That achievement was well beyond the two national championships.
- Has traveling so much in your life, as a coach, been hard on the family?
It pulls you in couple of different directions. But your family becomes closer because of change and the children become more independent. We always taught them, whoever their friends are, if they are pure friends you will always have them, if not you will make new ones. Their mom found them the right teams to be on, schools and family units to connect with.
- Were you happy coaching with your son?
I have mixed feelings. My finest and most enjoyable were my five years coach together at Wyoming. It is unique to have a son coaching on your staff because your son will tell you things others won’t. He can tell me when I have gone too far or if I haven’t or if I was too hard on a player. Other staff members couldn’t t tell you those things.
- If have transitioned to coaching in the NBA. Why?
After won the championship, I said to myself that if I leave now, I will be in the Wyoming Basketball Hall of Fame but if I stay they will remember me in a less than great light. I decided to leave but I want to make sure the school and my staff were taken care of. I still had a contract and I said I wanted to give it all back and hire one of my assistants, so they have security and I can be proud of the situation in which I left the program. Coach Carlisle called me and saw what I did and asked me to join him. It has been a remarkable three years.
- It seems like Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle have great relationship?
Most definitely. They analyze together like almost an AD with a college coach. It is unique and beneficial in both ways. Because of their relationship the rebuild helped us to position quickly for the near future.
- What was your Jewish like growing up and today?
We have a very close family and faithful family. I married a Presbyterian woman but maybe knows more about being Jewish than him. At the age of Bar Mitzvah we told our sons they were old enough to choose their religion and beliefs and no one should tell them what to believe.
- Is this your last stop coaching?
Great question that is yet to be answered and it is more up to my wife now. I hope to stay with the Mavericks now. Whether my next stop is in the NBA, college, TV or retirement.