LAKE CHARLES – McNeese Cowboys basketball head coach and athletics director Heath Schroyer will step away from his head coaching duties to focus solely on the job of director of McNeese’s 16 athletics programs.
“During this challenging year, Heath and I have had many conversations about the direction of our athletic department,” McNeese President Dr. Daryl Burckel said. “He has exemplified the leadership skills, and the vision, to make certain our athletic department overcomes its current financial challenges caused by a global pandemic and direct hits from two hurricanes. Heath’s commitment to the well-being of our student-athletes is unwavering, and his determination to help propel our athletic teams toward championships is untiring. I’m excited about the future of McNeese athletics with Heath as our AD.”
“I’ve had a great run as a coach. I truly feel like I’ve been the luckiest man in the world,” said Schroyer. “I’m a first-generation college student who grew up on a dairy farm. My coaching career has led me to this wonderful town, and this great opportunity to join this University’s leadership team.”
Effective immediately, Cowboys’ associate head coach John Aiken will be promoted to head coach.
“I’m leaving the basketball program in great hands,” said Schroyer about Aiken’s promotion. “John is more than ready to step into that role. John will bring energy to our kids, and will no doubt take the program to the next level. We have a great core of players who have eligibility remaining. I’m very excited about the future of Cowboy basketball.”
Schroyer’s coaching career covered 26 years – 24 of those in the Division I ranks. He was a head coach for 12 years at four different schools. He won two regular-season conference championships as a head coach; named coach of the year at two different schools; won four postseason games; advanced to the CIT Final Four; named a Top 20 Assistant Coach in the country of two different occasions while at UNLV; coached in the ACC at North Carolina State; coached over 100 players that moved on to play professionally including 15 in the NBA; recruited and coached two lottery picks including an overall No. 1 selection in the NBA Draft; and has had four former assistants who have become Division I head coaches, including Aiken.
“When Dr. Burckel asked me to step into this role last June, I had no idea where it would lead. As the year went on and the challenges mounted, it became extremely difficult to balance both jobs. Making the decision to step down as head basketball coach at this time was hard. It’s always hard leaving something that has been your entire life since you were a kid. However, I’m a man of faith and I know the time is right,” said Schroyer. “I believe I was put here for a reason. Helping Dr. Burckel rebuild this university by leading the athletic department is my new calling”.