MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin introduced Heath Schroyer as its ninth men's basketball coach in program history at a press conference held at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center on Thursday afternoon.
"I have known Heath for several years," UT Martin athletics director Julio Freire said. "I know he represents the qualities in a coach that our student-athletes, Chancellor, search committee and community are looking for. Today is a great day to be a Skyhawk!"
"We are excited and fortunate to secure Coach Schroyer to lead our men's basketball team," UT Martin Chancellor Dr. Tom Rakes said. "Coach Schroyer has demonstrated his expertise as a successful college coach for nearly two decades and we believe he will be a positive driving force for men's basketball."
Schroyer, 42, brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Skyhawk program, including seven years as a head coach at the Division-I level. All six of Schroyer's stops at a Division-I institution has culminated in either a conference championship or postseason play.
"I am obviously very humbled and excited to be here," Schroyer said. "I've been really impressed throughout the entire process with the upper administration and with Julio. I think we are on the cusp of accomplishing some great things. I've been doing this quite a long time but I've learned a lot and I'm ready to bring all of those experiences to UT Martin. I am anxious to get started and start trying to accomplish our goals."
A native of Walkersville, Md., Schroyer has spent the last three seasons at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas working as the associate head coach under Dave Rice. The Runnin' Rebels sported three 20-plus win seasons, a 71-32 overall record (29-19 against Mountain West Conference opposition) and appearances in the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Tournaments in Schroyer's tenure.
Named by Bleacher Report as one of college basketball's top 15 assistant coaches before the start of the 2012-13 season, Schroyer coordinated UNLV's recruiting efforts since he joined the staff in 2011. The Runnin' Rebels' 2012 recruiting class was ranked No. 7 in the nation by ESPN and one year later, UNLV produced Anthony Bennett - the No. 1 overall selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2013 NBA Draft. Bennett joined Larry Johnson (Charlotte Hornets, 1991) as the only players in UNLV's prestigious history be selected first in the NBA Draft.
UNLV knocked off seven nationally ranked teams in Schroyer's first two seasons, including a win over No. 1 North Carolina in 2011. That marked UNLV's first win over the nation's top team in 22 years and the first time a MWC team had defeated the No. 1 ranked team. The Runnin' Rebels spent 25 combined weeks in the national top-25 polls during Schroyer's first two seasons, topping out at No. 11 during the 2011-12 campaign.
The Runnin' Rebels boasted a pair of Associated Press All-Americans (Mike Moser in 2012, Bennett in 2013), 10 All-MWC selections, the two-time MWC Defensive Player of the Year (Khem Birch in 2013 and 2014) and 2012 MWC Newcomer of the Year (Moser) in Schroyer's time at UNLV.
Schroyer began his collegiate head coaching career at Portland State, where he took over the reins in 2002 as the nation's second youngest Division-I head coach at age 30.
Schroyer propelled the Portland State program to new heights from 2002-05. His teams improved in the win column each season (jumping up 14 wins from his first to last year), culminating with a Big Sky Conference regular-season title in 2004-05, which was the school's first-ever Division-I championship in any sport. That season, the Vikings went 19-9 overall with an 11-3 conference slate. The 19 victories were the most for the program since the 1958-59 campaign and occurred a year after he guided Portland State to a top-three turnaround in the nation during his second year.
At Portland State, Schroyer presided over six All-BSC honorees, including 2004-05 BSC Player of the Year Seamus Boxley. He concluded his career as the program's fourth all-time leading scorer (1,498 points) and was also named BSC Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons (2003-04, 2004-05).
Schroyer then joined Fresno State University as an associate head coach under Steve Cleveland for two seasons, serving as the Bulldogs' recruiting coordinator and overseeing the team's academic turnaround. Overall, he coached four All-Western Athletic Conference performers, including NBA Draft pick Dominic McGuire.
In Schroyer's last season on the bench at Fresno State (2006-07), the Bulldogs went 22-10 with a 10-6 WAC record, earning a trip to the National Invitation Tournament. That marked the most wins for the program since the legendary Jerry Tarkanian guided the Bulldogs to 22 wins in 1995-96.
Schroyer parlayed that success into a head coaching gig at the University of Wyoming from 2007-11. During his four-year head coaching stint at Wyoming, Schroyer coached seven All-MWC players, including Brandon Ewing (second all-time leading scorer in Cowboy history with 2,168 points) and Afam Moujeke (2008-09 MWC Freshman of the Year after becoming the league's all-time leading freshman scorer).
Schroyer's best season at Wyoming was in 2008-09, when he led the Cowboys to 19 victories and an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament. He also helped the program make huge strides academically, as he inherited the worst Academic Progress Rate (APR) of any sport in the entire MWC. Schroyer constructed a comprehensive plan that improved the Cowboys' men's basketball APR by 164 points to a program-high 935, which was the third-best turnaround in the nation. He was also a member of Wyoming's Academic Integrity Subcommittee in 2010-11.
Before his head coaching appointment at Portland State, Schroyer had previously been an assistant coach at Wyoming under head coach Steve McClain for the 2001-02 season, when the Cowboys went 22-9 (11-3 MWC) and upset No. 6 Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Arizona. Schroyer was in charge of a ferocious defense that led the MWC in field goal percentage defense, defensive rebounding and rebounding margin.
Schroyer's first Division-I assistant coaching job came at Brigham Young University, who was a member of the Western Athletic Conference before joining the MWC for Schroyer's last two seasons there.
Joining a Cougar program that had went 1-25 the season before, Schroyer and Cleveland - the BYU head coach who Schroyer would also work with at Fresno State almost a decade later - engineered a dramatic turnaround that led to a 46-20 record and pair of postseason berths in the final two years. The Cougars went 24-9 overall (10-4 MWC) and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2000-01. The MWC championship in 2000-01 was BYU's first conference tournament title since 1992, its first regular-season championship since 1993 and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995. The year before that, the Cougars went 22-11 and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.
Schroyer presided over six all-conference honorees at BYU, including 2001 MWC Player of the Year and Associated Press All-American Mekeli Wesley.
In a coaching career that began as an assistant coach under Cleveland at Fresno City College in 1996, Schroyer has recruited or coached over 60 players who have gone on to play professionally. He has also shared his extensive basketball knowledge as a television analyst during the 2011 NCAA Tournament coverage on The Mtn Channel and during the 2011 CBI on HDNet. He also served as a television analyst for the Utah Jazz during the 2001 NBA playoffs.
Schroyer started his collegiate playing career at Kings River Community College in Reedley, Calif., where he earned all-conference accolades and led the team to the California Junior College Final Four in 1992. He concluded his playing career at Armstrong Atlantic State in Savannah, Ga., where he led the team to the NCAA Division II Sweet 16 as a senior.
Schroyer prepped at the prestigious DeMatha High School program in Hyattsville, Md., where he played for the legendary coach Morgan Wootten, whose 1,274 wins as a head coach are the second-most in the history of basketball at any level.
Earning his bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Armstrong Atlantic State in 1995, Schroyer earned his Master's degree in institutional leadership from National University in Fresno, Calif. in 1996.
Schroyer has one daughter, Sierra (17) and a son, Hayden (12) from a previous marriage and also has a fiancée, Kim Ortega.
What industry leaders are saying about UT Martin head coach Heath Schroyer:
"I've known Heath since he was a player at DeMatha High School. I have always been impressed with his passion and great knowledge of the game. He is the ultimate communicator and confidence-giver as a coach. What a great fit at UT Martin."
-Mike Brey, Head Men's Basketball Coach, University of Notre Dame
"Heath is the ideal head coaching candidate for UT Martin. He has a proven track record of success and his basketball IQ is off the charts. I know he will do a great job at the helm of the Skyhawk men's basketball program."
-Leonard Hamilton, Head Men's Basketball Coach, Florida State University
UT Martin Basketball Alum (1969-71)
"UT Martin made a great decision! Heath is a great coach who has built programs his entire career. He is a guy who players will gravitate to and love to play for. His energy, enthusiasm and work ethic are contagious. The community of Martin will love him and his family and he will build a winner sooner than later."
-Morgan Wootten, Former DeMatha High School Boy's Basketball Head Coach
"I'm so happy for UT Martin and Coach Schroyer. I loved playing for him. He is a great communicator both on and off the floor. He made me a better player and person. The players at UT Martin will love playing for him like I did. I can't wait to see the winner he will build there."
-Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers Forward, 2013 NBA Draft No. 1 Overall Pick
"I'm excited about the direction UT Martin men's basketball is taking! No doubt, Heath has the ability to build a championship program. Great selection!"
-Lin Dunn, WNBA Head Coach, Indiana Fever
UT Martin Class of 1969
"I can't believe out of all the hires throughout this basketball offseason that there will be a better hire than Heath Schroyer at UT Martin. I have worked with Heath the last three years on and off the court and I can assure you, nobody is better prepared to rebuild the UT Martin men's basketball program. Without a doubt, this is a slam dunk hire!"
-Jim Livengood, Former Director of Athletics at UNLV
"Coach Schroyer was extremely important in helping us win 71 games and go to two NCAA Tournaments during his three seasons with us. He is a terrific floor coach and tremendous motivator. He is a relentless recruiter and will do a great job at UT Martin both on the court and in the community."
-Dave Rice, Head Men's Basketball Coach, UNLV