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Search for new assistant nearing stretch run for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Head coach Tad Boyle seeking new staff member for fourth time in past five years

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
The departure of Anthony Coleman, left, after just one year with the University of Colorado men’s basketball team means head coach Tad Boyle is on an aggressive hunt for a replacement that’s nearing conclusion.
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For the fourth time in the past five offseasons, Colorado men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle is shopping for a new assistant coach.

While the new addition may be revealed soon, Boyle has been content with patiently working his way through the process.

In a surprising move last month, former assistant Anthony Coleman bolted from the Buffs to rejoin coach Bobby Hurley’s staff at Arizona State, where Coleman spent three seasons before joining Boyle’s staff for just one year in Boulder.

As has been the routine during past coach searches, Boyle declined comment on any of the potential candidates — including some Twitter chatter that suggested a Kansas reunion might be on the horizon with Boyle’s former KU teammate, now-former Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning. But in the COVID-19 pandemic world of video interviews and paperwork trails being handled remotely, the typical search timeline has been juggled.

“We’re in the process of identifying and going after some guys,” Boyle said. “In the world of background checks and relying on people to get you information about that, our hands are a little bit tied in terms of how quickly those things happen. I don’t have a timeline on it, but I feel good about the people I’ve talked to and where we’re at. We’re going to get a really, really good coach. That much I know. I just don’t know what the timeline is going to be.”

Boyle and his staff enjoyed an unusual level of consistency through the first six seasons of his CU tenure, with the only change on his coaching staff occurring when Rodney Billups replaced Tom Abatemarco following Boyle’s first season in 2010-11. For the next five seasons, the assistant coach trio of Jean Prioleau, Mike Rohn, and Billups remained intact until Billups left to take over the program at his alma mater, the University of Denver, following the 2015-16 season.

It hasn’t exactly been a coaching carousel since then, but the staff moves nonetheless have become more frequent. Billups was replaced by Bill Grier, and when Prioleau took the head coach job at San Jose State the following year, Kim English joined Boyle’s staff. English lasted two seasons before leaving for Tennessee, opening the door last year for Coleman.

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Associate head coach Mike Rohn is Tad Boyle’s longest tenured staff member.

Boyle said he doesn’t believe his personal process has changed, even given his more frequent experiences of the past five years. If anything, the increased exposure to assistant candidates has reassured Boyle that his CU program remains on solid footing.

“The fact that I have done it more often here recently, I’m always amazed in terms of the quality and level of coaches and individuals who are interested in our program. In many ways, that’s very reassuring for me,” Boyle said. “That tells me that we’re doing a lot of things the right way. I’ve said this many times, but the great thing about coaching at Colorado is that if you lose a good assistant coach, you can replace him with a really good assistant coach. Because this is a great place to work.

“Our program is in great shape. We’ve got good players, we’ve got good guys. I think we’re well respected within the industry. It’s just a matter of finding the right guys at the right time. Timing is everything when it comes to professional opportunities and development. But the one thing that doesn’t change is that Colorado is a great place to work and to live.”