Tad Boyle was in Las Vegas, and not on the court somewhere at an NCAA Tournament date, when the premature end arrived for the 2019-20 basketball season.
For his son, Jack, the end probably was even more abrupt and disappointing than it was for any of his peers at the Division I level.
While the Buffs scattered from Vegas reeling from the sting of the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament that would have provided the squad a chance to erase the five-game slide that ended the season, Jack Boyle was on a plane in California. His Pomona-Pitzer team was getting ready to depart for Chicago, where the Sagehens were set to make the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 at Elmhurst College.
The Pomona-Pitzer squad was sitting on the tarmac in California when the NCAA announced it was canceling all its championship competitions due to the growing nationwide fears of the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Thank goodness the pilot allowed them to go back to the gate and get their luggage off the plane and not make the trip to Chicago. Otherwise they would’ve flown there and flown right back to California,” Tad Boyle said. “I’m disappointed as a coach, like I’m disappointed for (CU seniors) Shane (Gatling) and Lucas (Siewert), and I’m disappointed for my son Jack and his fellow senior teammates that made it to the Sweet 16 and had a chance to go to the Elite 8 and will never have that opportunity again. It’s a shame.”
Jack Boyle was a big reason why Pomona-Pitzer was on that plane in the first place. The Sagehens trailed Emory 70-68 in a second-round game in Atlanta on March 7 when, with 2.2 seconds remaining, Jack Boyle got the ball off an inbounds play and knocked down a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, giving Pomona-Pitzer its first berth in the Division III Sweet 16 in program history.
That shot arrived hours after Tad Boyle’s Buffs were left heartbroken at the buzzer at Utah, as McKinley Wright IV was called for a foul while Utah’s Both Gach launched an off-balance, desperation 3-pointer with the Buffs clinging to a one-point in the waning seconds of overtime. Gach knocked down all three free throws, giving CU its fourth consecutive loss to close the regular season.
In two tournament games, Jack Boyle shot 10-for-17 overall and 6-for-12 on 3-pointers while averaging 13 points.
“I actually was watching it live in my iPad on the flight back from Utah,” Tad Boyle said. “I was standing in the concourse at DIA when the shot went in. Three of my coaches were standing around watching with me and it was a moment I’ll never, ever forget. My joy as a father far exceeded my misery as a coach that night. That kept me going here over the last couple of weeks.”