Kyle Ringo
Kyle Ringo

Tad Boyle has only been on the job as head coach at Colorado for three seasons, but conversations about his possible departure have become commonplace among Buffs fans at this time of year.

It's no wonder CU fans and media who cover his program assume Boyle will eventually leave for more money and a chance to coach a perennial power. Boyle has achieved unprecedented results here that are bound to catch the attention of one of college basketball's storied teams.

He is the first coach in the history of the program to lead the Buffs to the postseason three straight times. He is the first coach to preside over three consecutive 20-win seasons. Prior to his tenure, CU had produced a total of four 20-win seasons in its history.

He has already recruited some of the best players in the modern history of Buffs basketball. He clearly has an eye for talent. The list of major accomplishments and firsts for the program under his leadership is a lengthy one.

You get the picture.

Boyle has been steadfast the past two years in addressing his thinking when it comes to other jobs. He refuses to talk publicly about schools that contact him directly or indirectly and he maintains that he is committed to CU and is not looking to leave.

None of that has changed this year, but there is a significant change in the quality of job that might be available to him.


UCLA fired coach Ben Howland over the weekend and is searching for a new coach. Seems like one of the first places to start looking would be up-and-coming coaches in the Pac-12 such as Boyle.

But CU fans need to get over their inferiority complex with this issue and remember that the Boulder/Longmont area is home to Boyle. It's where he grew up and it's going to take a special opportunity to get him to leave.

I'm told Boyle has some real passion for the idea of remaining at CU for years to come and doing his best to build CU basketball into a perennial power just as Mark Few has resisted offers to leave Gonzaga over the years. The way Colorado fans have responded to his program's success has only increased that passion from Boyle.

That doesn't mean Boyle won't leave some day, but I firmly believe him when he says he isn't looking to leave or eager to leave.

CU fans also haven't been given all the information when it comes CU's efforts to keep Boyle. That is our fault here in the media. So let's correct that shortcoming now.

CU announced a contract extension for Boyle last year that took effect in January 2013. The deal runs through April 2017 and provides Boyle significant incentives for staying in Boulder along with sizeable buyouts any suitor would have to pay to hire Boyle away. It did not include significant raises in his base salary and routine incentives that pay him approximately $800,000 annually.

The CU Board of Regents has also given CU athletic director Mike Bohn advance approval to negotiate one-year extensions of coaching contracts at the end of every season for each coach who has a multiyear deal.

The single biggest change to Boyle's deal was in the incentives put in place to help keep him here. CU isn't in a position to pay Boyle $3 or $4 million a year the way some schools can. So it came up with this plan as an alternative.

CU and Boyle agreed to a clause that will require the school to pay Boyle two bonuses on April 30, 2014 and April 30, 2017 if he is still the coach at CU on those dates.

The amount of the first bonus will be equal to the combined total of incentive salary he has earned in his first four seasons on the job. Considering he has earned more than $700,000 in incentives combined in his first three years and will likely have his best team to date next season, he could receive a bonus of more than $1 million next April. Who knows what the second bonus could be in 2017?

The contract includes buyout clauses that would require Boyle to pay $750,000 to CU if he leaves before April 30, 2014 and $500,000 if he leaves between April 30, 2014 and before April 30, 2015 and $350,000 if leaves any time after that.

Colorado is eventually going to have to pay Boyle a more competitive base salary if he continues to produce the results he has to this point. There is no getting around it, but the administration is at least trying to do right by him as it tries to get out from under debt caused mostly by the change in conference affiliation and three football coaching changes in seven years.

There is one other often overlooked fact in the worry that Boyle might bolt at some point.

If he should leave, CU could likely attract a bigger name coach than those it was limited to the past two times it has searched for a men's basketball coach. Boyle has proven to his peers across the nation that you can win in Boulder. That's a credit to Boyle and Jeff Bzdelik, who both came to CU when there were just promises of more resources and a brighter future.

And CU has proven that it wants to compete at the highest level in basketball with the millions it has devoted to improving the program.

Fear not Buffs. Boyle probably isn't going anywhere any time soon, but if he does, there is no reason the program can't continue the success it has enjoyed with him at the helm.