Shyatt happy for O’Sullivan

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Officially, our excellent beat reporter Brandon Zimmerman scooped the rest of the state when he first reported Clemson associate coach Kevin O’Sullivan was going to be hired as new Florida baseball coach.

Unofficially, Gator basketball assistant coach Larry Shyatt had the scoop before the rest of us.

Shyatt and his wife, Pam, were visiting their sons, Philip and Geoff, in Clemson, S.C., the weekend when O’Sullivan was first contacted.

“After all the Orlando Magic stuff went down we decided we needed to get out of town for a couple of days,” Shyatt said.

Shyatt still has strong ties to the area after his head coaching stint at Clemson from 1998-2003. Philip is entering his senior year at Clemson, and Geoff is an assistant at nearby Wofford College.

“It’s a place where we’re considering to retire,” Shyatt said.

Shyatt found out O’Sullivan was a strong candidate through Clemson baseball coach Jack Leggett, a close friend. How close? The night that Shyatt was introduced as Clemson basketball coach, Leggett invited him to throw out the first pitch of a baseball game. Shyatt donned a Clemson baseball uniform and fired his best pitch to Leggett, who was behind the
plate.

“I’d like to think that I got credit for a strike,” Shyatt said. “But the game was rained out so I don’t know if it will officially go in the books.”

Shyatt acknowledged he has a closer relationship with Leggett than O’Sullivan, but is happy to have another former Clemson coach on board.

“I’m thrilled for him,” Shyatt said. “I think he’s going to do a great job.”