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Boyle leaves behind legacy at Northern Colorado

10/18/2010

Colorado is set to announce Tad Boyle as its head coach, and it's expected to come the day after Northern Colorado held its postseason awards ceremony to celebrate a memorable year.

"Northern Colorado basketball set an incredibly high standard this season, and we’ve got a lot of work to do to maintain that," Boyle said that night. "I said that the best was yet to come after our last game this season and I truly believe that."

Usually when a comment like that is made and then a coach jumps for a bigger and better opportunity, its sincerity can be questioned.

But Boyle is a Greeley, Colo. native and led his high school team to a state championship as a senior. One of his first coaching jobs was at a high school in town.

After playing at Kansas and 11 years as a college assistant, Boyle came home for his first head coaching job, and it wasn't easy helping a team transitioning into Division I. In 2007, the Bears finished 4-24.

"It's not about me, it's about the players and this program," Boyle said after picking up career win No. 1.

Fast forward to today, and Northern Colorado finished second in the Big Sky this year, playing in a Division I postseason tournament for the first time at the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Bears knocked off Portland in the first round for its 25th win, the most in school history.

Guard Will Figures was a freshman during that rough 2007 season grew up to be the Bears' leading scorer and Team MVP.

"The MVP award is what it is -- every team gives it out, because there’s always one player who is a team’s rock, and that was Will for us this season," Boyle said. "But the MVP of our team this year was our team. Our unselfishness, competitiveness and toughness is why we had so much success this season, and that was something that all of our guys did."

That's what Boyle now hopes to bring up the road in Boulder.