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Portrait of Lindsey B King
Lindsey B. King. Photo by Sarah Banks

Hoops Dreams

A letter from the editor of 5280.

In American sports culture, cocksure college quarterbacks, evil genius NFL coaches, and highly paid, bombastic pro basketball players often become de facto celebrities—so it’s refreshing when anyone who might show up on SportsCenter isn’t also in the most recent Us Weekly. According to features editor Spencer Campbell, University of Colorado Boulder’s men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle didn’t even feel comfortable outing himself on a local golf course. “The club paired us with two other players,” Campbell says, “and one guy starts ribbing Tad for wearing so much CU gear. He was like, ‘Man, do you work for the university or something?’ He had no idea who Tad was, but Tad just laughed and said, ‘Yeah, kinda.’ ”

Boyle’s modesty may be endearing, but it belies a competitiveness that has helped the Colorado native turn the historically basement-dwelling Buffaloes into one of the most dependable winners in the Pac-12 conference over the past 11 years. In “How Tad Boyle Has Made CU Men’s Basketball Into a Powerhouse”, Campbell deftly explores Boyle’s drive, from being a star shooting guard for Greeley Central High School to serving as captain for the University of Kansas Jayhawks to taking a long, ego-draining spin on the college basketball coaching carousel. “All of that took initiative, effort, and no small amount of sweat,” Campbell says, “but I learned that’s just who he is. On the third hole, he asked if we could make things more interesting. The amount we were betting didn’t matter; he liked the competition.”

CU’s 2021-’22 season tips on November 9 with a game in Boulder against the Montana State University Bobcats. Basketball fans will know to look for flashy four-star recruit K.J. Simpson on the floor, but as Campbell’s piece explains, Coloradans should start paying a little more attention to the unassuming guy calling the plays.

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