Tad Boyle — University of Colorado men’s hoops coach, Greeley Central grad ­— announced as keynote speaker at Tribune’s Best Preps banquet | MyWindsorNow.com

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Tad Boyle — University of Colorado men’s hoops coach, Greeley Central grad ­— announced as keynote speaker at Tribune’s Best Preps banquet

The Best of the Best

» What: The Greeley Tribune’s fourth annual Best Preps banquet, honoring the best high school athletes and coaches in Weld County

» When: May 24

» Where: Grand Ballroom, University Center, University of Northern Colorado, 2101 10th Ave., Greeley

» Schedule: Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is served at 6:30; keynote speech at 7

» Buy tickets here: http://www.greeleytribune.com/bestpreps2017

The Tad Boyle file

» 202-158* record (.561 winning percentage) in 11 years as a head coach at Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado

» 6 seasons of 20-plus wins

» 4 NCAA Tournament berths

» Coached 3 NBA Draft picks (Alec Burks, 12th overall, 2011; Andre Roberson, 26th overall, 2013; Spencer Dinwiddie, 38th overall, 2014)

» 2012 Pac-12 champion

» 1981 Colorado state champion (Greeley Central High School)

» 1981 Colorado Player of the Year

*As of press time. Colorado’s game against Utah on Thursday night began after this article was written.

Tad Boyle is coming back to the University of Northern Colorado.

No, not to save the basketball team.

Boyle will be the keynote speaker at The Tribune's fourth annual Best Preps awards banquet at 6:30 p.m. May 24 in UNC's grand ballroom.

The banquet honors the top high school athletes and coaches from Greeley and the rest of Weld County.

Boyle, a Greeley native and the men's basketball coach at the University of Colorado, knows better than most where the athletes have been and where they want to go.

He has experienced tragedy and triumph in his life, sometimes in close proximity, and he's living proof that it's never too late to chase your dreams.

Boyle's father died during Tad's senior year at Greeley Central High School. He still led the Wildcats to the 1981 state championship and was named an All-American and the Colorado Player of the Year.

After graduating from Central, Boyle played at the University of Kansas from 1981 to 1985. His time in Lawrence, Kan., predated the Jayhawks' current prolonged period of success, but he still started 34 games, went to two NCAA Tournaments and was team captain his senior year. He graduated from Kansas with a degree in business administration and became a commodities broker in Kansas City, then in Northern Colorado.

During his years in the financial industry, Boyle dabbled in coaching — he was an assistant at Greeley West and Loveland and the head coach at Longmont — but he earned six figures as a broker and basketball wasn't his career.

That changed in 1994. Boyle was driving to work when somebody ran a red light and smashed into his car. He almost died, and that convinced him that he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing what he loved.

He joined the staff at the University of Oregon — for $16,000 a year — and stayed there for three seasons. He spent the next decade at Tennessee, Jacksonville State and Wichita State before UNC gave Boyle his first head coaching job in 2006.

The Bears went 4-24 in Boyle's first season and improved to 13 and 14 wins over the next two years. In 2010, Boyle led UNC to a school-record 25 wins and its first postseason berth.

That's when Colorado offered Boyle what he called his "dream job," to be the head coach at the state's most prominent university. The Buffs set a school record with 24 wins in his first season.

In Boyle's second year, Colorado won the Pac-12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Buffs have been back to the dance three times since then and have won more than 20 games in all but one of Boyle's five full seasons in Boulder.

Colorado's 81-66 win over Washington on Feb. 9 was Boyle's 200th career victory.

Previous Best Preps keynote speakers were former Denver Broncos player Reggie Rivers, former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl and Paralympian and motivational speaker John Register.