Regardless of anyone's thoughts on his coaching acumen, credit must be given to Tad Boyle for his ongoing attempts to link his Colorado basketball program with its rich history.
This weekend was the third annual alumni weekend hosted by Boyle and his Buffaloes. Each season Boyle's staff welcomes back a group of players from a specific coaching era in CU basketball. It began with alums from the Bill Blair era two years ago and continues this weekend, with players from the tenure of former coach Tom Miller have convened in Boulder.
"Unfortunately we can't bring Sox (Walseth) back, but we would've started with him," Boyle said. "Since he's no longer with us we started two years ago with Bill Blair and his era and players, and last year it was Tom Apke. This year it's Tom Miller.
"The whole idea is to bring the different eras of Colorado basketball together to reconnect them with them with the current era. And then secondly, it's just to make sure that all those players and coaches feel like they were appreciated no matter what happened, no matter what their record was, no matter how things started or how they ended. They're appreciated here. Once you're a Buff you're always a Buff and you're always welcomed back."
Miller spoke with the Buffs at the end of practice Saturday, recounting a bittersweet end to his CU stint that nonetheless could provide an encouraging blueprint for the Buffs at the Pac-12 Conference tournament next month.
At the end of the 1989-90 season, the Buffs were 2-12 in league play and seeded eighth for the Big Eight tournament. But they immediately knocked off top-seeded Missouri in overtime and defeated Oklahoma State to reach the conference final. However CU's unexpected run ended with a 92-80 loss to Oklahoma in Miller's final game.
"We learn from our experiences, but we can also learn from other people's experiences. That's what history is all about," Boyle said. "We're honoring the past. Hopefully if one or two guys got something from coach Miller's speech it's worth it. Hopefully our whole group did. And also making our players realize you're here for a very short window of your life. Our current guys can interact with them, maybe build some relationships and networking. Who knows where those things can lead as we go forward in our lives."