The first offseason shakeup of the Colorado men’s basketball team has officially gone down, and it wasn’t the expected transfer of junior guard Deleon Brown.
On Wednesday, Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle confirmed that assistant Kim English, a member of CU’s staff the past two seasons, is leaving Boulder for a similar post on Rick Barnes’ staff at the University of Tennessee.
In Knoxville, English will replace Rob Lanier, who left the Volunteers to become the head coach at Georgia State. Tennessee is coming off a 31-6 season in which it finished second in the SEC and reached the league title game before losing to Purdue in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
With a two-year old daughter and another baby on the way for English, Boyle described the move as more of a personal one than professional one, as English will be just a few hours from his wife’s family and hometown.
“It was a very emotional meeting when he told the guys,” Boyle said. “He loves our team and our team loves him. It’s a four-hour and change drive for his wife and her family. They’re getting ready to have their second baby. He has a lot of things tugging at him outside of basketball. I don’t think this was a basketball decision for coach English. I think it was a family decision. The players understand that. I understand that. It doesn’t make it any easier. We love him and he was great for our program.”
Boyle brought English to CU from Tulsa, where he was a staff member for two seasons — one as the director of player development, the second as an assistant coach — following a professional playing career that included several stops abroad after one season with the Detroit Pistons.
English is considered a bright, up-and-coming coach in the industry, and last year he was named a 30-under-30 honoree by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. As a recently retired player, English helped former CU star George King go through his postseason workouts a year ago that led to a few stellar performances at scouting showcases and King’s eventual selection in the second round of the NBA draft by Phoenix. Current guard D’Shawn Schwartz also credited English this season for tweaking a free throw form that allowed Schwartz to post an .826 mark at the line during Pac-12 Conference play.
Unlike two years ago, when Boyle acted quickly to bring in English after longtime assistant Jean Prioleau departed CU to become the head coach at San Jose State, the Buffs’ head coach said he might move a little more deliberately this time in filling his staff. It also is the third time in four seasons Boyle has had to fill a void on his staff, as former assistant Rodney Billups also left CU following the 2016 postseason to take the head coach position at his alma mater, the University of Denver.
“I don’t expect to move quickly. I’m going to take my time just because of the time of the year,” Boyle said. “I feel like next year’s roster is set. I do have a list. We’ll do our due diligence. We’ll be talking to people, but I’m going to proceed a little slowly. Last time, I felt like I wanted to move quickly. Timing is everything.”