Tis the season for the coaching carousel to fire up and... do whatever carousels do. Spin around and play annoying music while you go up and down on a fake horse, I suppose. At any rate, this means it's time for Buffs fans to begin the now annual ritual of wringing our hands and looking for fainting couches upon which to faint as we wait for the inevitable exodus of Tad Boyle to whichever richer, bigger program comes batting their eyes at him. Well, I'm happy to officially report, officially, this BREAKING NEWS: It ain't happening. So just stop it, and go back to doing something productive, like projecting the QB depth chart. Let's look at all the most commonly cited reasons why he's got one foot out the door, and discuss why they are stupid and wrong.
Actually, first I'm going to look at a reason why he would stay and why this is also stupid and wrong. I've read repeatedly, when discussing his loyalty and love of the state program, that Boyle left a fancy corporate job paying over 6 figures to take an earnings restricted assistant gig that paid something near the poverty line. This is true, but he left an office job for a basketball job. He bet on himself and his passion and talent and won. This would not be that. This would be moving from a basketball job to a perceived better basketball job. So there's that. But back to the larger picture.
Regarding loyalty, no one knows what lies in the hearts of men, so we can't really know how loyal Boyle is to the CU program. He's a local guy who loves the area and claims to love the lifestyle and the program, but who really knows? At this point, all we can do is take the man at his word, because we've never seen him pull a Todd Graham (or now Steve Alford) and job hop or flirt with other programs to get a better deal here. By all accounts he simply says, "thanks for the interest," politely declines, and goes about his day. We know he doesn't like playing against his friend Mark Turgeon, and we know he refuses to schedule UNC until all of his former players graduate. So we do have demonstrable proof that Boyle is true to his word, is loyal to his friends and former recruits, and seems to truly care about more than the final score on the Jumbotron.
Beyond that, there are other, more concrete reasons why Boyle would choose to stay. First off is money. Everyone knows money is awesome, and more is better than less, according to some extraordinarily irritating Jimmy Fallon commercials that are rotating on seemingly every channel, forever. As a baseline, Steve Alford just agreed to a 7 year deal with Ucla worth $2.6 million per, according to reports. That's a hell of a lot of money, and a contract CU couldn't possibly match. But living in Los Angeles is extremely expensive, too (says the transplanted Coloradan), and the LA lifestyle is not suited to everyone (including the aforementioned transplanted Coloradan). There are also other jobs that would pay better, with longer contract terms than CU can offer. But Boyle is paid a substantial amount, relative to his peers. After base salary and incentives, he makes close to $1 million a year on what has basically become a rolling 5 year contract, and he's due for an additional $1 million bonus next year. State law mandates that we cannot issue contracts longer than 5 years, so we'll be seeing none of the absurd 10 year contracts recently issued by...wait for it... New Mexico to Steve Alford. Obviously, contract length means precisely squat in the larger scheme of things. We'll continue to add another year to Boyle's contract using some creative accounting terms, and since he continues to agree to them and not play hardball, we're safe there. Personally, I'd prefer to see an increase in base pay and less in incentives for tax purposes, but I can't purport to actually know how these things are classified for the IRS.
There's also the perception that we're a lower tier program. I don't believe this and, while Boyle is a substantial part of that, he is not the end all, be all of the program. We have a fantastic practice facility, something that everyone in college basketball is scrambling to build. I've been there, I've toured it, and it lacks for very little. What it does lack (a large room for viewing film) is being addressed, thanks to a donor. The weight room is also being expanded. That's something a school like Minnesota, which recently dismissed a coach with a national championship ring, has been fighting uphill for for years, with no final product in sight.
We also travel by charter, rather than commercial flights. I'm far, far too lazy to look it up, but we're one of only 2 or 3 programs in the Pac 12 conference to do that. Part of it is by necessity, but it was none other than the recently deposed Ben Howland who said that such a travel arrangement amounted to a competitive advantage. Are you kidding me? A coach at Ucla should never have to decry a competitive advantage that a coach at CU has. That's a lot of support for a program that some fans to consider to be second tier.
Beyond that, Boyle has done a good job of increasing the talent in the program through recruiting. These are his players, running his system. Additionally, the talent coming out of Colorado has increased exponentially in recent years, and Boyle has done a good job keeping that talent in house. There's guys like Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon who would've gotten significant looks at other programs had they not committed to Boyle, to guys like Xavier Talton and Sabatino Chen, who are, or are on pace to be significant contributors while costing less than an out of state scholarship. And going forward, there are guys like Josh Perkins, Dom Collier, Austin Conway, and De'Ron Davis who considered high, national level recruits. A lot of this is due to the rise of AAU ball. Josh Scott shot up the recruiting rankings thanks to summer play. We've previously had guys like Chauncey Billups, Chris Crosby, John Blair Bickerstaff, and Matt Bouldin who have been outliers in the state (and the latter 3 all chose to move out of state to continue their careers), but we've never seen a level of talent equal to what we've got now.
I'm confident that Boyle knows this. Rudy Carey, the coach at Denver East (home of Ronnie Harrell and Dom Collier) has been quoted as saying that Boyle comes along all the time while Ricardo Patton stopped by once. The bottom line is- we have the facilities, the salary, the amenities, the fan support, and the in-state talent to sustain a high level of basketball, regardless of our past history. If we're still continuing to worry about Boyle leaving, then it's because of a sort of sports Napoleon complex- we're not used to success. But we're successful now, and there's no reason to believe that we're going to lose that in the future.
UPDATE: Hours after I submitted this, my arch nemesis Seth Davis twittered out that Boyle's name has been bandied about for the Minnesota job. Please bookmark this for that and every other likewise job openings. Tad Boyle is not leaving for Tiny Sota.