Dan Hawkins is back on the clock.

For the second consecutive Monday, Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn completed a basketball coaching search with an introductory press conference in a picture-perfect setting under the Flatirons.

One week after Linda Lappe officially replaced Kathy McConnell-Miller as the CU women's head coach, Tad Boyle took the podium to talk about his "dream job," which unexpectedly opened up when Jeff Bzdelik bolted for Wake Forest after only three seasons in Boulder.

Boyle agreed to a five year contract, the terms of which will not be disclosed until it is approved by CU's Board of Regents.

Boyle - a Greeley native who played in the old Big Eight at Kansas while Bohn was in the Jayhawks football program - led Northern Colorado to 25-8 record last season, the most wins in the program's history.

During Boyle's four seasons, the Bears went from the very bottom - a 4-24 finish during his first season that included the worst Ratings Percentage Index ranking among Division I teams - to an appearance in the College Insiders Tournament.


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UNC's final RPI for the 2009-10 season was 118. Colorado State came in at 119, and CU finished at 120.

"When he took over the job at Northern Colorado he inherited a job that was dead last in the nation," Bohn said. "To take the lowest-ranked team and put it right up to us is really ironic in a lot of ways, that it was that close. ...

"That was an eye opener for us."

The Bears were close to making the NCAA Tournament last season but had to settle for a second-place finish in the Big Sky and a postseason berth in the CIT after losing in their conference tournament.

Two weeks ago the Buffs were convinced they were built for March madness entering Bzdelik's fourth season.

"The players know that first and foremost we're going to do what's right for them," Bohn said. "It is all about them and we're providing a coach that we believe can help them continue to make progress on a journey that they're very excited about."

Boyle beat out CU associate head coach Steve McClain and former Metro State head coach and Denver Nuggets assistant Mike Dunlap for the job. And now his focus during this critical transition period is threefold:

1. Try to keep the current roster intact.

Boyle plans to establish relationships with all of the players, including Big 12 Freshman of the Year Alec Burks, who has not made his mind up whether or not to remain at CU.

"The main thing is we have to retain the players we have in the program right now," Boyle said. "That has to be our goal from Day One."

Boyle met with the current Buffs at 8:15 a.m. on Monday before driving to Greeley for an emotional farewell session with the Bears.

"There is some anxiety amongst them," Boyle said of the players he is inheriting at CU who hoped McClain would get the job. "I've got to get to know them in a short period of time and we both have to take a leap of faith in trusting each other."

2. Hire a staff.

Boyle said he will consider retaining the assistants left behind by Bzdelik but that he also has a short list of candidates from outside the program that he might try to bring in.

Derrick Clark, Drew Long and Tom Abatemarco worked players out on Monday afternoon before attending Boyle's press conference. McClain plans to take a job as the top assistant at Indiana under Tom Crean.

"That will be next in line as we get the players hopefully shored up," Boyle said.

3. Recruit some rebounders.

Bzdelik and McClain had been scouring seemingly every gym in the country looking for a couple of power forwards/centers to solve the Buffs' rebounding woes. Boyle is set to hit the road today looking for the same answers to the problems that plagued CU the past three seasons.

"The cornerstones of our basketball program are going to be defense and rebounding," Boyle said. "If we do those two things we'll give ourselves a chance every night out."

Boyle, 47, is the 18th CU head coach in the program's history. Prior to rebuilding the UNC program, he served as the top assistant to Mark Turgeon at Jackson State and Wichita State.

"Tad is the best assistant I've ever had. He was like a co-head coach when I had him and he helped me build two programs," Turgeon, now the head coach at Texas A&M, said during a recent telephone interview with the Camera. "Tad is ready to take a program to the next step and he knows how to build a program.

"Jeff did a good job there and they're close. Everybody's pointing to next year for them, and I think Tad can get them there."

Last October, Boyle brought the Bears to the Coors Events Center for a closed-door scrimmage against Bzdelik's Buffs to get the teams prepared for the season. A source who watched the action told the Camera that if a score was kept UNC would have driven back to Greeley victorious.

UNC did beat Air Force, Colorado State and Denver last season during non-conference play.

"They played hard. That was my impression of them. They scrapped," CU forward Austin Dufault said when asked what he remembered about Boyle's team. "They weren't the most talented team or the most athletic, but they played hard and they enjoy playing the game a lot."

Boyle, who played for Larry Brown at KU, will not be retaining Bzdelik's Princeton-style offense. He believes the Buffs should play at a frenetic pace to take advantage of the altitude of Boulder.

"That was something that was exciting to hear," Dufault said.

By the time Boyle returned from Greeley for his introductory press conference, the sun was about to set behind the Flatirons, and greater Denver hoops fans were getting ready to focus on the Nuggets' playoff game against Utah.

Chauncey Billups, a very loyal and beloved Buff, was still paying attention.

"Well, I just hope that he can bring us some players, man, and try to keep us going," Billups told reporters during Monday's shoot-around at the Pepsi center. "He's done a wonderful job at UNC. He did a remarkable job up there, so hopefully he can continue doing that and get us back on the right track again."