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Shyatt expects to be back on bench

Jan 24, 2014 - From staff reports

LARAMIE -- Larry Shyatt said he had tears in his eyes. But they were tears of joy.

The University of Wyoming men's basketball coach wasn't on the bench with his team for its 66-59 victory at Air Force on Wednesday night.

Early that morning -- around 1 a.m. -- Shyatt, 62, felt ill. So ill that he decided it was best to not coach the team. The story was reported by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

The players were told before their shoot-around practice that morning.

Shyatt's wife, Pam, drove from Laramie to Colorado Springs, Colo., to pick him up and take him home. After a trip to the doctor, all is well: Shyatt was back in the office Thursday morning, getting his team ready to host Nevada at 2 p.m. Saturday.

"By the time we got home and got everything checked out, I missed the first eight minutes or so of the game," he said. "But afterward I was in tears as I talked to the players and coaches on the phone.

"I couldn't be more proud of this group. It says that we've surrounded ourselves with the right people."

Shyatt said this was the first time he has missed a game as a head coach because of illness and only the second in his 40-year college coaching career.

As an assistant at Providence from 1988-94, he missed some time because of the chicken pox.

Assistant coach Allen Edwards replaced Shyatt at Air Force because he did the scouting and game plan.

This was his first game as a college head coach after being an assistant the past 12 years.

Perhaps the change affected UW early as it trailed by 15 points in the first half and 11 early in the second. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. said the coach's absence made a difference for the Cowboys.

"That's who we rally behind and that's who we all look up to on the court when times are tough," he said. "But coach Edwards and the rest of the staff did a great job of stepping in for him tonight."

Added sophomore guard Josh Adams: "Coach Shyatt has instilled habits in us. Whether he is here or not, we are going to do what coach Shyatt tells us to do."

Edwards said he wasn't nervous about coaching the team, but he was excited for the opportunity. Still, he was leery of not screwing up, and he turned to the officials for help.

"I kept saying to them, 'If I'm out of line just let me know.'" he said. "During each timeout I kept asking them if I was doing OK.

"They were great to allow me to get out there, motivate and coach the guys."

School officials announced at halftime of the Wyoming men's basketball game vs. Nevada, there will be a major announcement impacting Cowboy and Cowgirl basketball.

The announcement will be made at the start of halftime. Immediately following the presentation, UW athletics director Tom Burman will be available to the media for interviews.

Junior guard Riley Grabau was 0 of 3 from the field Wednesday, and all of his misses were from three-point range.

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