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BYU's Heath Schroyer named head coach at McNeese State

BYU's Heath Schroyer named head coach at McNeese State

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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PROVO — Heath Schroyer's return to Provo lasted just one season.

The BYU associate head coach will be named the next head coach at McNeese State, the university announced Thursday afternoon, pending the approval of the Louisiana board of supervisors.

Schroyer, who has head coaching experience at the University of Wyoming and the University of Tennessee at Martin and also spent time at Fresno State, UNLV and North Carolina State, returned to BYU prior to the 2017-18 season to replace longtime assistant coach Terry Nashif.

"Dave and I have been friends for a long time," Schroyer said earlier in the season. "It's been fun, and I really enjoyed it here. It was great to be back."

Schroyer will be formally introduced as the Cowboys' next head coach at an introductory press conference Monday in Lake Charles, Louisiana. McNeese State finished 11-17 this past season, including an 8-10 mark in Southland play to narrowly miss qualifying for the conference tournament.

The 46-year-old coach has 20 years of Division I coaching experience, dating back to his time spent on former BYU coach Steve Cleveland's staff from 1997-2001. Schroyer's impact on the Cougars was immediate, helping lead a defensive renaissance in Provo by instituting a new measurement called the "kill," or three-straight defensive stops.

With Schroyer as the only change to the BYU coaching staff, the Cougars went from a bottom-third defensive team in 2017 to No. 69 in KenPom's adjusted defense ratings.

"When we get scored on, we're pissed," BYU's Yoeli Childs said of the team's defense earlier in the season. "That's what it takes to win a championship. If we get scored on and think 'let's just get them back on offense,' that’s the wrong mentality. That’s never going to win you games."

Rose likened Schroyer's job in his second stint at BYU to a mechanic, giving him full reign to "look under the hood" of the basketball program and fix what he felt was necessary.

"I just told him I would do whatever I could to help … and he’s been very transparent," Schroyer said of the relationship. "He wanted me to tell him the truth, and I’ve been really impressed."

Though not Mormon himself, Schroyer has spent time around plenty of LDS coaches and players in his career. Besides his time working with current head coach Dave Rose under Cleveland, Schroyer also had current Portland State head coach Barret Peery on his staff with the Vikings.

The experience helped him in recruiting non-LDS athletes to Provo, such as current BYU point guard Jahshire Hardnett from junior college, while understanding the challenge of such an endeavor.

"I talk about the relationships you build here, the type of people here, the values of the university and the church," Schroyer said. "I know this isn't for everybody — not everybody can fit here.

"But if you want a quality education and to play big-time basketball, be around people who are doing the right things, then this is where you want to come."

The Cougars finished the season 24-11 after Wednesday night's 86-83 loss at Stanford in the first round of the NIT. The brief postseason stay marked BYU's third-straight NIT appearance, but 13th-straight postseason appearance under Rose.

Potential candidates to replace Schroyer include Peery, a Payson native who played college basketball at Snow College and Southern Utah and is one of the few active head coaches in college hoops; former Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson, a good friend of Rose and other members of the current staff; and Lee Cummard, the former BYU standout who has spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant under Rose.

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