Worst Job In America? Wyoming Fires Hoops Coach

I’ve learned today that Heath Schroyer has been fired as head basketball coach at the University of Wyoming. The coach, who told his players of his ouster this afternoon in a team meeting, will be replaced for the balance of the season by associate head coach Fred Langley. Schroyer had three years on his contract remaining at a Mountain West-low $160,000 per season - all of which will be bought out by the school’s boosters.

Heath Schroyer Fired

(Wyoming: No Low Budget, High Expectations)

Schroyer departs after only 3 1/2 seasons and a 49-68 overall record at Wyoming. The coach was brought in by Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman primarily to clean up off-court and academic issues while keeping the underfunded Cowboys basketball program competitive in the Mountain West.

Schroyer achieved the former, upgrading the academic performance of Cowboy players significantly during his tenure while eliminating off-court behavior issues. But injuries to key players, including former MWC freshman of the year Afam Muojeke and highly-touted junior college prospect Luke Martinez, and a 2010-11 roster featuring only one senior has wreaked disaster on Wyoming’s record this season. (8-15, 1-8 in the Mountain West.)

Of Schroyer’s ouster, a current Mountain West basketball coach told me today that he thought Wyoming AD Tom Burman made the decision in order to distract angry fans from the underperforming Cowboys football program. In recent years, Burman has raised millions for Wyoming football in upgrading the team’s facilities, while failing to provide the hoops program so much as a practice facility.

With that in mind, it appears Burman’s decision to fire Schroyer was premature. At the very least, as Schroyer’s cleaned up the off-court reputation of the Wyoming hoops program, he should’ve been allowed to finish the season.

I don’t think Schroyer will be unemployed for long.

As for Schroyer’s permanent replacement, I’ve been told that Wyoming is eyeing BYU associate head coach Dave Rice and South Florida assistant coach Jeremy Cox as two possible candidates for the job.

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