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Clemson Basketball Coach Shyatt Resigns

March 18, 2003

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) _ After a five-year tenure marked by inconsistent performances and disappointing losses, Clemson coach Larry Shyatt knew it was time to go.

``I feel it is just time to give someone else an opportunity to coach this program,″ Shyatt said in a release issued by the school after he resigned Monday.

Clemson’s season came to an abrupt end Sunday when the Tigers failed to get an invitation to the NIT despite a 15-13 record. It was the fourth consecutive year Clemson failed to make the postseason.

The Tigers finished in eighth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, after three straight finishes in the league basement.

Shyatt, 70-84 in his five years at Clemson, met with athletic director Terry Don Phillips on Monday, and agreed to step down. But Phillips said Shyatt has been such a good representative for the school that he agreed to pay Shyatt the $180,000 buyout in his contract.

``We appreciate everything Larry and his family have done for Clemson University and will help him any way we can after his future endeavors,″ Phillips said.

Phillips promises an aggressive search for Shyatt’s replacement. But with the athletic department paying over $40 million to improve Littlejohn Coliseum, Memorial Stadium and other facilities, the school may not have the money for a marquee coach.

Shyatt was paid $420,000, the lowest salary for an ACC coach this season.

Finding a new basketball coach will be the first high-profile job for Phillips, who came to Clemson last year.

Shyatt first came to Clemson in 1994 as an assistant under Rick Barnes. He stayed for three seasons before heading off to become coach at Wyoming in 1997.

Barnes left the Tigers for Texas a year later, and Shyatt jumped at the chance to take what he called a dream job. Shyatt personally paid Wyoming $286,000 to buy out his contract so he could come to Clemson.

``I have had a wonderful career at Clemson,″ Shyatt said. ``I want to tell all the players I have coached at Clemson how much I appreciate the effort they gave to our program.″

Shyatt took over a team that had made three straight NCAA tournaments and set records for season ticket sales under Barnes.

But as the team’s records declined, so did attendance. Less than 4,900 season tickets were sold this year, a decrease of 42 percent since Clemson sold a record 8,397 in 1997-98, the season before Shyatt became the Tigers’ coach.

Clemson started this season 9-0, before losing six of their first seven ACC games. They won four of their next five in the league, then dropped their next five, including a 72-61 loss to Florida State in the ACC tournament play-in game to end the season at 15-13.

Clemson expected to make the NIT this year for the first time since salvaging a disappointing 15-14 regular season in 1998-99 by making a run to the NIT finals, where the Tigers lost to California 61-60.

But the invitation didn’t come as Clemson became the first ACC team eligible for the NIT to be snubbed since the Tigers were left out in 1992.

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