Tad Boyle, right, completed his first season as head coach of the CU men’s basketball team with a record 24 wins and a trip to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) semifinals.
I think you said this was your dream job when you were introduced as coach last year. Do you still feel that way?
I do, absolutely . . . I’m as excited and optimistic and positive as I was the day I was hired. I think the future is bright. You look at our new practice facility that’s being finished, the investment our administration has made in basketball and at how our fans reacted to our team this year. We know we can get it done in Colorado in terms of competing for conference championships and NCAA tournament bids. What I’m interested in doing is building a program that can sustain success.
When you look back on a season in which the team set many records, what makes you most proud?
The fact that with as many good individual players as we had — guys like Alec Burks, Cory Higgins and Levi Knutson — they put the team’s goals ahead of their own. It’s very gratifying as a coach, and it allows you to overachieve.
You’ve lost a lot of talent on this team. How do your expectations or your approach to next season change?
The approach doesn’t change a bit. We have to have a great off-season. Alec, Cory, Levi and Marcus (Relphorde) are walking out the door, but that means there are opportunities for players in the program to step up and take the reins. One door closes and another opens up . . . I think next year is one of those years where our goals aren’t going to change, but the expectations for where we are have to change.
I was told a story about your son in Madison Square Garden. Tell me more.
When Pete hears music he likes to dance. He started at home games in the Coors Events Center where he would dance to the band during timeouts. When we went to Madison Square Garden for the NIT, my wife made a few calls and got him down on the floor to be a ball boy.
So he was doing his thing at Madison Square Garden like he’s been doing at the Coors Events Center, and an Alabama fan approached him after the [CU-Alabama] game and took a $100 bill out of his pocket and said, ‘Hey, I want you to have this. You made my night and you were worth every penny.’ My wife said Pete’s eyes got real big and he said, ‘I can’t take that. I do this because I love it.’
You started your coaching career at the sophomore level of high school. How has that helped you?
I wouldn’t have had it any other way because it’s allowed me to grow and to learn every step. I don’t think there’s a basketball coach I can talk to in America in which I haven’t been where they are. I started as a sophomore coach where if you have a good sophomore they’re immediately pulled up to [junior varsity].
When you were a sophomore or JV high school coach, did you ever envision sometime coaching at a major university?
It never entered my mind. Every step along the way has come as a result of being successful at the previous step. Coaching is not a profession where you have a five-year business plan. In five years, you might not have a job. The old adage is there are coaches who have been fired and those who will be fired. I want to be in the latter category as long as I can.
After beating ranked opponents in back-to-back games for the first time in program history, the Buffs start 3-0 in Big 12 play by defeating Oklahoma State.
In front of one of their five home sellout crowds — a Coors Events Center record — the Buffs rally from a 22-point first-half deficit to edge Texas 91-89.
Despite advancing to the Big 12 tournament semifinals, the Buffs are snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Committee and relegated to the 32-team NIT.
off CU 62-61 in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New
York City, ending
the Buffs’ hope for