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The final straw

Left out of NIT, Shyatt ends five-year run at Clemson

Posted: Monday March 17, 2003 11:20 PM
Updated: Tuesday March 18, 2003 12:00 AM

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Clemson basketball coach Larry Shyatt resigned Monday, 24 hours after the Tigers' postseason hopes were dashed when they failed to earn a spot in the NIT.

Shyatt made his decision after meeting with athletic director Terry Don Phillips.

"I have had a wonderful career at Clemson," Shyatt said in a release issued by the school. "I want to tell all the players I have coached at Clemson how much I appreciate the effort they gave to our program."

Clemson wound up eighth this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference after three straight last-place finishes. The Tigers went 15-13 this season, and Shyatt was 70-84 in five years at Clemson.

Clemson was Shyatt's dream job. He had been the coach at Wyoming for a year and personally paid the school $286,000 to buy out his contract so he could take over the Tigers when Rick Barnes left in 1998.

"I have put my heart and soul into this job, and that was especially the case this season," Shyatt said.

But like all of Shyatt's Clemson squads, this one was very inconsistent.

The Tigers started the season 9-0 before losing six of their first seven ACC games. They would win four of their next five in the league, then drop their next five, including a 72-61 loss to Florida State in the ACC tournament play-in game.

But perhaps the best example of Clemson's ability to confound its fans came in 2000 when the Tigers sandwiched a 75-65 upset of then-No. 1 North Carolina between a 34-point loss to North Carolina State and a 32 point-defeat to Wake Forest.

Phillips praised Shyatt for the work he's done for Clemson, repeating a story about how the coach gave a lecture to a marketing class after practice one night in the middle of the season.

"We appreciate everything Larry and his family have done for Clemson University," Phillips said.

Phillips said the university will pay Shyatt the $180,000 buyout in his contract even though the coach resigned.

 
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