Fresno State's Schroyer takes reins of Cowboys

Updated: March 23, 2007, 8:32 PM ET
Associated Press

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Wyoming introduced Heath Schroyer as the Cowboys' new men's basketball coach on Friday, reuniting Schroyer with the man who gave him his last head coaching job.

Schroyer comes to Wyoming from Fresno State, where he was associate head coach for two years. Before that, Schroyer was head coach at Portland State for three years. He was hired there by athletic director Tom Burman, who now holds the same job at Wyoming.

The contract Schroyer signed Friday will pay him a base salary of $150,000 a year. With incentives, he can earn up to $500,000.

Schroyer will earn a base salary of $150,000 a year. With incentives, he can earn up to $500,000, although the contract still has yet to be signed.

In three seasons with the Vikings, Schroyer went 35-47 overall, 19-23 in the Big Sky Conference. He took over a struggling program and finished last in the Big Sky in each of his first two seasons, going 5-22 in 2002-03 and 11-16 in 2003-04.

But Portland State won the Big Sky regular-season title in 2005, going 11-3 in league play. The Vikings played host to the conference tournament but were upset by Weber State in the semifinals, finishing the season 19-9. Schroyer didn't earn a postseason bid in his three seasons.

After that season, Schroyer left Portland State to join head coach Steve Cleveland at Fresno State; the two had coached together at Fresno City College and BYU.

"I had a great situation," Schroyer said. "This is the one opportunity I would have left it to come back to."

Schroyer replaces Steve McClain, who was fired earlier this month after going 157-115 in nine seasons. McClain led Wyoming to four postseason bids in his first five seasons, and in 2002 coached the Cowboys to their first NCAA Tournament win since 1990.

But McClain's last four seasons were mediocre -- Wyoming went a combined 57-63 in those seasons, with two losing records and no postseason bids. Burman cited on-the-court losses and slumping ticket sales when he fired McClain.

Schroyer was an assistant to McClain for one season at Wyoming, coaching defense on the 2001-02 team that went 22-9, won its first regular-season conference championship in 20 years, and upset No. 6 Gonzaga 73-66 in the NCAA Tournament.

"It's great to be back," Schroyer said. "I told Tom [Burman] when I got here it feels like coming home."

"I'm not just confident, I know that we hired the right guy to lead Cowboy basketball," UW President Tom Buchanan said.

Schroyer promised an aggressive style of play.

"We're going to open the floor up," Schroyer said. "I think it's a mistake at this level not to play fast at 7200 feet."

Guard Brandon Ewing said he hasn't talked with Schroyer yet, but he's encouraged to hear the Cowboys will keep playing an uptempo game.

"I'm ready to win in the tournament. I want to be one of those teams that's winning championships," Ewing said.

"Whoever came in, I'm ready to play basketball," Ewing said. "[Schroyer] seems like a cool guy-energetic. I'm ready to play."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press