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Tad Boyle discusses whirlwind week of honors

CU Buffs hoops leader led US U18 to gold at FIBA Americas Championships

BOULDER, CO - October 19, 2021:  Head men's basketball coach, Tad Boyle, talks to reporters during the University of Colorado Boulder's men's basketball media day. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – October 19, 2021: Head men’s basketball coach, Tad Boyle, talks to reporters during the University of Colorado Boulder’s men’s basketball media day. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

With no indication he will depart his post any time soon, Tad Boyle already has etched a legacy at the University of Colorado that will leave permanent markings in the men’s basketball history book.

Yet it’s fair to say Boyle has never enjoyed a run of honors and accomplishments quite like last week.

In a whirlwind span of four days, Boyle not only led the USA Basketball U18 team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championships in Mexico but he also was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Board of Directors and received a spot in the 2022 induction class for the University of Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame.

In many ways, it was a lifetime of achievement compressed into a few short days.

“It was humbling, and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to go and be a part of winning a gold medal. It’s very rewarding,” Boyle said. “When you have USA Basketball across your chest, winning is a relief. But I was really out of my comfort zone. Because as a college coach, you’re used to having the summer to establish your program, set a mindset and culture. Then you have the fall to have a preseason and conditioning. That’s what I’m used to.

“With USA Basketball, 27 guys show up to camp. You get it down to 17, then you have three practices and get it down to 12. Then you go play six games in seven days. It’s a totally different mindset.”

Boyle admitted the competition was never destined to come down to any brilliant or inventive coaching adjustments — the superior talent of the US went 6-0 with an average margin of victory of 47.2 points. Yet there remained the challenge of making sure that superior talent retained its focus and intensity throughout the tournament.

“The guys we ended up with on the roster really bought in to what we were preaching as a coaching staff,” Boyle said. “And number one was we wanted to be the hardest-playing team in Tijuana. Secondly, was to rebound at a high level and thirdly to protect the ball and take great shots on offense. It was as simple as that, and that’s something we kept coming back to every timeout, every halftime, pregame speech, postgame speech. We just tried to nail those points home.”

In almost any other week, Boyle’s other two highlights with the NABC Board of Directors and the UNC Hall of Fame would have taken center stage.

As a Greeley native whose father was an English professor at UNC, the hall of fame honor was a personal one for Boyle. His first head coach job was at UNC in the 2006-07 season, when a moribund program went just 4-24. Yet in Boyle’s fourth and final season at UNC in 2009-10, the Bears went 25-8. The following year, Boyle’s first at CU, that core group of Boyle recruits earned the first NCAA Tournament bid in UNC history.

Boyle also has long been active within the NABC, and he said he is ready to embrace that leadership challenge during a time of dramatic change within collegiate athletics.

“The Board of Directors, I was honored to be asked,” Boyle said. “Hopefully we can make the game better. We’ve got a lot of challenges facing college basketball right now. Hopefully we can be part of the change. Because we do have to make some changes. There’s no question about it. I don’t know if the coaching Board of Directors can do that. But as long as I’m on there, I’m going to try.”