Sam Wyly was born in Louisiana and raised in a small town. He graduated from Louisiana Tech with an MBA from the University of Michigan in 1957. Wyly then went to Air Force boot camp near San Antonio, Texas. Next, he moved to Dallas, Texas to work as a salesman for IBM.
Wyly started his first business venture, the University Computing Company, on the campus of Southern Methodist University when he was only 28 years old. At the time, it was the only company of its kind that offered computer services to colleges and universities across the country.