Colorado Basketball on the Rise: An Ode to his Royal Tadness

April 15, 2012

Two years ago today, Mike Bohn, the Athletic Director at the University of Colorado, introduced Tad Boyle, the 18th Head Coach in the history of the Men's Basketball program. At the time, Buff Nation was still emotionally coping with the betrayal and departure of Jeff Bzdelik, who had just left CU for Wake Forest.

A former Denver Nuggets and Air Force Falcons coach, Bzdelik arrived in Boulder three years prior with the promise of building CU Basketball from the ground up.  Instead, Bzdelik lunged at the first opportunity to coach the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Coach Boyle was initially met with a degree of skepticism.  Some of it was due to Mike Bohn’s last coaching hire of Dan Hawkins, a decision that resulted in Buff fans witnessing a five-year thrashing of a once powerhouse football program.

Many Buff fans felt like Bohn had gone the cheap route with the basketball program’s no-name new hire.   Many were puzzled as to why Bzdelik’s assistant Steve McLain was not offered the job, at least for perhaps a season.

However, time has proven Bohn's decision to be wise. The hiring of Boyle has not only helped Bohn rebuild his tarnished credibility as Athletic Director after the Hawkins debacle, but also has fundamentally transformed CU Basketball in just two short seasons with Boyle at the helm.

In his inaugural season, Boyle posted a 24-14 record in a debut that featured impressive wins over 5th-ranked Texas, 8th-ranked Missouri, and 20th-ranked Kansas State.  Projected to finish dead-last, Boyle’s Buffs finished 6th in a highly-competitive Big 12.

On the eve of the NCAA Tournament, nearly every major college basketball analyst had projected Colorado to lock up a bid in the Big Dance.  However, the NCAA Selection Committee, in a major snub, left the Buffs out of the NCAA Tournament.

Undaunted, the resilient Boyle embraced his team's number one seed invitation from the NIT, managing to rally his team’s broken dreams into the NIT's semi-finals at Madison Square Garden.

With the school moving to the Pac-12 last year, the experts had dubbed Boyle’s second season as a “rebuilding year” for CU Basketball.  Citing the exodus of Alec Burks and Cory Higgins to the NBA, the so-called experts projected Colorado to finish 10th in the Pac-12.

Boyle would again prove his doubters wrong, rallying his team in the Pac-12 tournament by stringing together four wins on four consecutive nights and receiving the non-discretionary automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Boyle by his own admission remained bitter about the major NCAA snub his kids had to stomach the previous year on Selection Sunday.  After cutting down the nets at Staples Center, Boyle stated, "They didn't invite us to this party.  We're crashing it."

Boyle not only has a highly gifted understanding of the game, but he also possesses a tremendous ability to rally his players around a common goal: Winning.

If the analysts' notion of a “rebuilding year” equals a conference championship and a second-round appearance at the NCAA Tournament, Buff Nation will certainly take it, six days a week and twice on Sundays.  

In two short seasons, here are just a few of Boyle’s accomplishments:  
  • The Buffs are 32-4 at home under Tad Boyle.
  • The Coors Events Center, informally known as “The Keg,” is now one of the most difficult places to play in the conference and regularly sells out.
  • Boyle has assembled the best recruiting class in the history of the school.  ESPN is projecting that Colorado has the 22nd best incoming recruiting class in the nation.
  • Boyle has assembled back-to-back twenty-plus win seasons.
  • The Buffs enjoyed their first NCAA appearance since 2003, posting a tournament win over UNLV.
  • The Buffs will have a new addition to the rafters at the Coors Events Center that reads “Pac-12 Basketball Champions”

Boyle has consistently maintained that his current job is in fact his “dream job.”  Buff Nation can only hope that statement survives the test of time in this fickle era of continuous coaching change.

In the future, one could almost imagine Colorado hosting its conference rivals at “Tad Boyle Court at the Coors Events Center.”  All indicators suggest that such a path is Coach Boyle's for the taking.

By Sherwin Sadr
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald



    1. Once we start stealing more LA recruits it will be game over for the PAC 12


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