Saturday's game at Ohio State is a homecoming of sorts for Florida associate coach Larry Shyatt.Shyatt was born outside Cleveland and attended the College of Wooster in
Ohio before earning his graduate degree at Akron University.Shyatt also spent six seasons (from 1976-82) as an assistant coach at Cleveland State.Shyatt said he was unsure if his mother, Doris, would be able to attend Saturday's game in Columbus, but said he expects close friend Bob DiBiasio to make it. DiBiasio is a vice president of public relations with the Cleveland Indians."Great guy," Shyatt said. "Every time I go back to Ohio, he gets me tickets for Indians games."Here's another interesting aside on Shyatt, revealed in a news conference Louisville coach Rick Pitino held earlier this week. Pitino, a UMass graduate, was on the search committee to find the new UMass coach in 1988 (he was the head coach with the New York Knicks at the time). Shyatt was a finalist for the job, along with John Calipari.
Some on the search committee leaned toward Shyatt, but Pitino was high on Calipari, who asked for $60,000 annually for the job, but UMass only offered $50,000. So Pitino wrote a $10,000 check to make the difference.Calipari was hired and led UMass to the Final Four eight years later.
Shyatt, who was an associate coach at New Mexico at the time, said that
Pitino was "pretty kind" to him during the interview process."Looking back on it, it was probably a blessing," Shyatt said. "I wasn't
ready to be a head coach."