BOULDER • Twelve and a half years after Tad Boyle first declared being the head men’s basketball coach at Colorado was his dream job, he’s officially the winningest coach in program history.
Even after his record-setting 262nd win with the Buffs, in typical Tad Boyle fashion, he still wouldn’t take any credit.
Instead, he pointed out the four people in the program who have been with him since the beginning: associate head coach Mike Rohn, director of operation Bill Cartun, his assistant Marge Marcy and assistant athletic director of academic strategy Mindy Sclaro.
“It’s really important that I had these four people up here with me tonight, because they deserve this and have been a part of this just as much as I have,” Boyle said postgame.
Boyle may not have done much smiling during the 86-78 win over Southern Utah that was a little more nerve-wracking than he would’ve liked, but once the final buzzer sounded and the T-shirt and signs with Boyle’s silhouette and a giant "262" on them were being passed out, he could finally smile.
And when a tribute video with messages from coaches he’s worked, former teammates from his playing days and plenty of former Buffs he’s coached showed on the video board, the moment really started to hit him.
“Everybody that’s on that video has been a part of my life as well, whether I coached with them or played with them or coached them,” Boyle said. “There’s so many more people that could’ve been on that video that have had an impact on my life.”
Once the video was over, Boyle addressed the crowd.
“The real diehards are here tonight,” Boyle said with a laugh to the 1,000 or so fans that remained from CU’s final game before the short holiday break.
But one message stood out.
“I’m more excited about the future of this program than I’ve ever been,” the 13th-year coach said.
With a team that he feels that can get to the NCAA Tournament and with his best-ever recruiting class coming next year, he’s got plenty of reason to feel that way.
“I’m excited because I get to work with people like this everyday,” Boyle said. “I love the current players we have in our program, and I love the recruits we signed. I’m excited about what lies ahead for us. I think this year’s team could be a really good team, but when I look at next year’s team, I get really, really excited and that’s a good feeling.”
It’s been an emotional week for Boyle. He tied the record on Sunday afternoon in a win over his former team — Northern Colorado — in which several of his former players from his time with the Bears came to support him.
“The reason that we coach and the reason that we come to work every day is about the student-athlete and building those relationships that are lifelong,” Boyle said. “When I saw those five guys from Northern Colorado and I know what we went through and to have them here and supporting me, it touched me. I hope I can have that relationship with every former player, to some degree.”
When all the emotions fade for Boyle, he’ll have a few days to spend time with family over the holidays. He didn’t hesitate to remind everyone that college basketball can be hard on the players, coaches, support staff and everyone else involved. But the hard days make days like Sunday that much more rewarding.
This team still has a lot in front of it, though. They sit at 8-5 and now that nonconference schedule is in the rearview, it’s full speed ahead into what should be an exciting few months of Pac-12 play.
“It’s time to hopefully enjoy a couple days, enjoy the holidays, and come back refreshed,” Boyle said.