Larry Shyatt has been a highly respected and successful coach at the collegiate level for decades, and now he’s joining the Mavericks’ staff.
Shyatt, who most recently coached the University of Wyoming, will work as an assistant coach underneath head coach Rick Carlisle, according to the team. His primary focus will be to work with the big men. Every assistant from the 2015-16 season will remain on staff and return to the bench next season, the team confirmed.
In 2015 Shyatt led the Wyoming program to just its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1988, the same year also winning the Mountain West Conference tournament for the first time since 1988. Prior to his five-season stint at Wyoming, he was an assistant coach under Billy Donovan at the University of Florida from 2004-11. During that time, Florida won back-to-back national championships with a team featuring, among other players, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and former Maverick Corey Brewer.
Hailed for his defensive mind, Shyatt built one of the country’s best defenses during the 2014-15 season at Wyoming. Led by Larry Nance Jr., now playing with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cowboys allowed just 56.4 points per game, seventh-best in the nation that season, according to Sports-Reference.com. Nance would become Wyoming’s first player selected in the NBA Draft since Theo Ratliff in 1995. Shyatt finished with a 117-78 (.600) record with the Cowboys. Before that, he was head coach at Clemson from 1998-2003 — finishing runner-up in the NIT in 1999 — and assisted at Cleveland State, New Mexico, and Providence.
Never afraid to speak his mind at Wyoming, one local reporter called Shyatt “the Mountain West’s cowboy.” After sweeping rival Colorado State in “the Border War” series last December, Shyatt performed a celebratory dance on the Wyoming-Colorado border. But he was obviously much more than a showman while with the Cowboys; he’s a brilliant basketball mind and a stand-up individual in an industry with some unsavory characters. Writes The Coloradoan’s Matt L. Stephens:
“He never held back, never stood for injustice and was willing to take a fall to protect any coach. His personality might have irked some, but he was one of the good guys in the profession who put everyone else first, even campaigning behind closed doors to make sure one of his assistants was promoted following his departure.”
Those words should remind you of head coach Carlisle, who’s also the head of the NBA Coaches Association. Together those two surely have seen all there is to see in this business and they should make a wonderful team alongside the rest of the coaching staff. Carlisle has brought on several experienced, successful assistants in years past, including Terry Stotts and Dwane Casey, who finished second and fifth, respectively, in Coach of the Year voting for the 2015-16 season. Current assistants Kaleb Canales and Melvin Hunt also have experience as interim head coaches. There certainly will be no shortage of smarts on the Mavs’ bench this season.