Game day notes: CU Buffs coach Tad Boyle remembers Irv Brown

Brent Lewis / THE DENVER POST
Iconic Colorado sports figure Irv Brown, seen here in 2016, once hosted a one-on-one tournament won by a youngster from Greeley Central named Tad Boyle.

Like just about any native Coloradoan involved in college or pro sports in Colorado, Tad Boyle has an Irv Brown story.

Brown, the iconic jack-of-all-trades who built a reputation as one of the finest college basketball referees in the nation, coached the University of Colorado baseball team, and pioneers sports talk radio in Denver, passed away Feb. 3. His life was celebrated during a two and a half hour ceremony Saturday afternoon at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield.

CU’s head coach was just an up-and-coming kid out of Greeley Central High School when he took his ball and headed to a one-on-one tournament Brown oversaw while working for KHOW. Boyle, the future Kansas recruit, won the tournament. The kid from Greeley immediately formed a connection with Brown, who starred in basketball and baseball in Greeley at the University of Northern Colorado.

“Irv Brown meant so much to me,” Boyle said. “I remember Irv, he went to school in Greeley and he knew I was from Greeley, so we kind of made a connection there. He was a guy that I listened to. When I was not coaching, I always listened to him and Joe Williams. I thought those guys were awesome. They were great for sports radio in Denver. He and Joe had a great chemistry on the air.

“Irv Brown is a very, very special man for a lot of different reasons. But what I’ll miss the most about Irv — and I wasn’t in contact with him a lot — it’s kind of like Dave Plati at Colorado. His institutional knowledge of the state of Colorado and the sports history…it doesn’t matter if it was North High School or Denver East High School, or if it was the University of Colorado or a baseball player at Colorado State or a football player over in Grand Junction. Irv Brown knew the sports scene in Colorado. He knew football, he knew basketball, he knew baseball. He was so well-rounded. I’m going to miss him, and the state of Colorado is going to miss him.”

Fond memories

Former CU coach Ricardo Patton, who will be in attendance for Sunday night’s home date against Arizona as part of the Buffs’ annual alumni weekend, re-shaped Colorado basketball history when, as a CU assistant, he helped convince Chauncey Billups to stay home and play ball in Boulder.

Patton was the head coach by the time Billups led CU to a memorable 1997 NCAA Tournament first-round win against coach Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers. Billups obviously was a Hall of Famer-caliber type talent, yet Patton harbors just as fond of memories of the 2002-03 CU team that went back to the tournament and the 2004 team that went 10-6 in the Big 12 and narrowly missed the tournament.

“The year we got back we finished sixth in the Big 12, and the very next year we probably should’ve gotten back and we finished fourth,” Patton said. “We still had some good moments and some good times. Chris Copeland was on that team. That team was senior-laden. I just think we did a pretty good job of what we had at the time, and Tad was able to take it to the next level.

Bad break

The college basketball career of former CU Buffs player Tory Miller-Stewart is over.

The player once known simply as Tory Miller altered his moniker once again when he transferred to the University of Denver, as he now goes by Tory Stewart-Miller. Yet he encountered familiar problems at DU. Like last year at CU, Stewart-Miller’s season ended after he re-broke the same foot that limited him to just the first six games of 2017-18 with the Buffs.

It was a frustrating one-season run for Stewart-Miller under former CU assistant Rodney Billups. He also missed the first seven games of the season due to a wrist injury. In 14 games (11 starts), Stewart-Miller averaged 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds with a .560 shooting percentage for the Pioneers.

Notable

As of Sunday morning, CU had sold 6,805 tickets for Sunday night’s showdown against Arizona. That total does not include student tickets. The largest home attendance so far this season was 8,654 for the Oregon game Feb. 2…CU point guard McKinley Wright needs two assists to reach 294 for his career and match Michel Morandais for 13th-place on CU’s career list. Eight more assists will make Wright the 13th CU player to collect 300 in his career…In last year’s home win against a 14th-ranked Arizona team, Wright finished with 16 points and 10 assists…With members of the 1997 NCAA Tournament set to attend Sunday’s game as part of basketball alumni weekend, it’s worth noting the contributions from the other Buffs besides Chauncey Billups’ 24 points in the first-round win against Indiana. Fred Edmonds recorded 12 points and five rebounds. Ronnie DeGray posted eight points and five rebounds. And sharpshooter Greg Jensen made his only 3-point attempts. All of those former Buffs are scheduled to attend Sunday’s game.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07