The expectations for Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle and his Buffaloes should always be to get into the Big Dance. Coach Boyle, for better or for worse, has set the bar extremely high but it’s something he welcomes with open arms.
“This is an NCAA Tournament team,” Coach Boyle told us on the Hull Show back in October. “That’s our expectation. That’s our goal. It is every single year. This year is no different.”
It’s refreshing to hear a coach lay it out so simply: we expect to be one of the best. CU fans expect to them to be one of the best and quite frankly, they should want for nothing less. However, let’s be careful not to confuse expectations with pressure. Sure, there’s pressure on coaches to perform every single year and if they simply can’t get the job done over a few seasons then perhaps it’s time to move on.
Fortunately for CU, Tad Boyle is in the upper echelon of college basketball coaches. During his time at Colorado, he holds a record of 212-134 (ranks second all time in program history in win percentage), 4 NCAA Tournament appearances and one Conference tournament championship. In 10 seasons, Boyl’s Buffs have won 20 plus games 7 times and he’s only posted one losing record. So it’s easy to see why he expects to be in the mix come March every single year. I get it, not qualifying for March Madness since the 2015/16 season makes folks a bit uneasy but consider this; He’s had 2 seasons with win records of 24 and 23 that somehow weren’t enough to punch a ticket. Last season, CU won 21 games and were actually projected by ESPN to make it in.
College sports is highly competitive at the head coach position, as it should be. We see coaches with winning records get fired quite frequently for one reason or another. But Tad’s record and record against big time opponents is what keeps him off the hot seat year after year. Boyle has led Colorado to 19 wins over ranked opponents, the best in team history. And if you are talking about how he does in post season play, can’t imagine the Buffs doing much better with someone else in charge. Overall Boyle’s 22 postseason wins and .564 winning percentage (22-17) are tops in Colorado history.
If the records and trips to March Madness don’t do anything for you, how about the NBA talent that CU produces? Seven former Buffaloes coached by Boyle have made NBA rosters during his time as head coach. Highlighted by 2011 lottery pick Alec Burks, The Buffs are represented well in the world of pro basketball. Colorado has been represented in 3 of the last 4 Drafts with Derrick White in 2017 (San Antonio) George King in 2018 (Phoenix) and now Tyler Bey (Philadelphia – traded to Dallas). There’s no doubt another CU star will highlight the 2021 NBA draft in McKinley Wright who will perhaps go down as one the greatest Buffaloes of all time.
“I would not trade McKinely Wright for anybody,” Coach Boyle said when asked about his star player. “He cares about his performance. He’s a great leader. He’s gonna be a pro. He approaches his day-to-day activities like a pro. As basketball player, I’ve never scene anyone work as hard as him.”
There seems to be talk every year about whether or not “this guy” is the one that can get the Buffs over the hump and contend with the best teams at the highest level. Should he be on the hot seat? Leaving out last season because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Buffs have not been dancing in 3 seasons, 4 years counting 2020. Before that, however, he had been to the tourney 4 out of 5 years. That’s insane. Unlike the Pac 12 football conference, Basketball is a REAL force in the NCAA.
Look at his stats, look at his players and look at his community involvement not just in Boulder but throughout the state of Colorado. It’s hard to win a title. How many #1’s and #2’s get knocked out early or fail to win it all? Tad Boyle is the man for the job for as long as he wants it. Buffs fans shouldn’t be putting extra pressure on the former Kansas Jayhawk captain. Instead, they should be thanking their lucky stars they have an elite basketball mind running the ship. There’s several great programs that would love to have him. Enjoy what you have Buffs fans. Boyle is one of the best.
NOTE: Colorado has suspended all basketball activities because of a COVID-19 related issue.
If you’d like to hear Brady’s discussion with Coach Boyle in its entirety, click on the link below.