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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

With Tad It Will Not Be Sad

There are just some college basketball coaches that are made to rebuild programs and are made to WIN.

In my mind, Colorado Buffalo coach Tad Boyle fits that mold.

While Boyle is still young in his coaching career and even has a below .500 record overall as a head coach when you look at is his overall body of work, it is impressive.

Rob Closs was an outstanding player for Dick Harter with the Oregon Ducks and has carried on his relationship with the Ducks by being their  TV analyst for Duck basketball games. Back in 1994 standing next to Closs in Mac Court during warm-ups it was Closs who told me to look at the Oregon bench. I did and he went on to tell me there are two guys sitting over there as Duck assistants that will be big time college head coaches in the future.

Closs per usual was so right on one of the people and is headed to be right on the other. Those two people he pointed out were Mark Turgeon and Tad Boyle, who were in their first year as being assistants for head coach Jerry Green. Turgeon who will coach Maryland this year after a great run at Texas A&M has turned into being one of the top young coaches in college basketball and Boyle is headed in that direction.

I would warn all Pac-12 fans, coaches and anyone else that will listen, do not ever take the Colorado Buffalos for granted as long as Tad Boyle is their head coach. It is a school with very little basketball tradition, but Boyle just might change that.

In Boyle's first year as head college basketball coach he went 4-24 at the Northern Colorado Bears. In his last year with the Bears he guided them to a 25-8 record and a trip to the College Insider Tournament. What a turnaround in four years, he changed the entire culture of Bears' basketball.

In his home state,  that obviously caught the attention of many people, landing  Boyle the head coaching job at Colorado last year. He didn't even take the normal three years to put the program on the map. In his first year he won 24 games and he team played great in a very tough basketball conference, the Big 12.

If you had one beef with a team that should have gotten into the NCAA tournament it was Boyle's Buffalos. All of basketball was shocked when the Buffs did not make the big dance, but in a tribute to Boyle's coaching he kept the team focused, taking them to the semifinals of the NIT.

Boyle did not rest after the season. He did something that has not happened for 21 years at Colorado, he was able to recruit not just one player out of the Los Angeles area, but three quality players. Point guards Askia Baker and Spencer Dinwiddie, along with power forward Damiene Cain will join the Buffs this coming season and the three have a chance to be impact players.

Of course the Buffs lost two high quality players in Alec Burks and Cory Higgins, not easy players to replace, but Boyle always finds a way to win.

As for Pac-12 play, the Buffs have not played Arizona State and Washington State since 1969. It has been almost as long since they have played USC and UCLA, the last time being 1975 and 1977 respectively. Those match-ups will also help the Buffs in recruiting, especially playing the LA schools in the rich California basketball talent area and giving his three recruits a chance to play in front of family and friends.

If Tad Boyle has one flaw, he keeps calling Colorado his "dream job". (Boyle is a native of Greeley, Colorado). In these days of high powered college basketball, big money and an ever abundance of players to recruit, there are no dream jobs. Boyle is the lowest paid basketball coach in the Pac-12 at around $590,000 per year, he was mentioned for a couple of openings this year and another year like he had last year with the Buffs, he will become even a hotter commodity.

The Buffs for sure are a program to watch as they join the Pac-12 and Tad Boyle is a coach to watch as well, being a graduate of Kansas where he captained the team in 1985, playing for Larry Brown, coaching under Jerry Green, being around Mark Turgeon, his total basketball culture has been about winning and he continues that as head coach.

At least I warned you early enough Pac-12.

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