Burman cites poor play for firing coach now

Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman says he decided to fire men's basketball coach Heath Schroyer now because it became clear that a change was necessary.

Burman said Tuesday that with the Cowboys just 1-8 in the Mountain West Conference so far, he was concerned about the negativity surrounding the program.

"I just felt like rather than walk around on egg shells for the next month if this thing was going to happen we might as well deal with it right now," he said.

He noted that Schroyer had asked for a mid-season evaluation of the program before the season began.

Schroyer was fired Monday, two days after the Cowboys lost their seventh consecutive game and 15th of the season. He had a cumulative record of 49-68.

Schroyer, who was hired by Burman in 2007, was not available for comment and did not wish to add any comment beyond what he said in a news release Monday through the university, UW athletics spokesman Tim Harkins said.

In the release, Schroyer said he was disappointed in the decision but that he enjoyed his time as UW head coach.

Associate head coach Fred Langley is serving as interim head coach for the rest of the season.

The Cowboys (8-15) play at New Mexico on Wednesday night.

Burman said the players he's talked to were handling the decision well.

"The kids, they understand the business, they want to see us turn this program around; the current status isn't good enough for them either," he said.

Wyoming will hire a search firm to help find a new coach, Burman said. No timetable for finding a new coach has been set.

Burman said the search will look at Division I coaches, assistant head coaches of successful programs and former coaches.

He said UW would be "aggressive in the market" in terms of pay for the next coach.

He did not provide specifics other than saying the university couldn't afford a $1 million annual salary.

"We just need to find a way to be more competitive in the salary for the head coach, and we have a plan to address that," Burman said.

Schroyer had an annual base salary of $160,000. His contract ran through the 2013-14 season.

UW will pay Schroyer $160,000 per year for the remaining three years.

Burman said the money will come from reserves the university has built up in its athletic accounts.