New coach holds hope high

Portland State’s new men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer takes the reigns on a team that made the last spot in the Big Sky tournament this season but lost in the first round. The team has recorded only 21 wins in the last two seasons combined. This is Schroyer’s first Division I head coaching position. Schroyer was hired by Tom Burman on April 23 to take over duties for Joel Sobotka.

“PSU had unlimited potential. The city of Portland is outstanding for recruiting possibilities too: a place where we can recruit to an urban setting and there’s a lot of talent in the area,” Schroyer said.

Schroyer was previously an assistant coach for the University of Wyoming men’s basketball program. He was there just one year, being last season. Prior to his experience at Wyoming, Schroyer was an assistant at BYU for four years. He has been in coaching for a total of seven years, including two other stops: Kings River Community College and Fresno City.

“I think one thing he’ll bring is mental toughness. All the teams he has coached for before played great defense and had great rebounding, things that we really need. And also his recruiting ties will be very beneficial to the program,” Athletic Director Tom Burman said.

Before beginning his coaching career, Schroyer played in high school and at the college level. He played in high school for coaching wizard Morgan Wooten in Hyatvilles, Md., Schroyer went on to play at Kings River Community College in Reedly, Calif., then finished his playing career at Armstrong State in Savanna, Ga.

“The staff I want with me will be guys that have played, that understand the game and can teach the game. I want guys that are player-coaches,” Schroyer said.

Schroyer’s mentality for the team carries over from when he was coaching for BYU and Wyoming. He wants the easy baskets, but says it all starts with defense and reboundin. In his last two seasons at BYU, the team ranked first in field goal percentage defense in the conference. In the last season at Wyoming, his team was again ranked first in field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin. Wyoming also won the Mountain West Conference for the first time in 14 years, making the NCAA Tournament and upsetting heavily favored Gonzaga in the first round.

Schroyer contends that the team should be a part of the Portland community and one the city can support and be proud of.

“One of my biggest goals beyond winning and losing is to give a team that the city embraces. We must do a better job of being accessible to the public. The players and coaches need to get out into the community and let people know. We have to do things from day one to compete for championships and tournament bids.”