Opinion: Boyle made the prudent move in hiring Rick Ray

Chase Howell

Tad Boyle and the Colorado Buffaloes announced the hiring of Rick Ray as CU's newest assistant coach on the men's basketball staff on Friday. 

Ray comes from two previous head coaching positions in Division I basketball, one of them was in the SEC at Mississippi State. 

Before that, he served as an assistant at Clemson, Purdue, Northern Illinois and Indiana State. 

The hiring got mixed reviews from the CU fanbase. There will always be fans that find something negative in all of Boyle's actions. But it was more than just the #FireTad contingency that was upset about the hire.

Maybe it was because Danny Manning was rumored to be one of the top candidates and fans were excited about the name recognition and everything else that comes with it. 

Or it's that he doesn't have the same recruiting pedigree as Anthony Coleman, the previous assistant coach.

Or if it's just merely the fact his stints as a head coach, especially his most recent one with Southeastern Missouri, were largely unsuccessful. 

Judging an assistant coach off of his record as a head coach is a fool's errand. The responsibilities for a head coach are completely different than an assistant coach.

It's said all of the time some coaches are meant to be assistants and that could be true for Ray. 

And if you're using that argument against Ray, then you probably didn't want Manning either because he wasn't a successful head coach by any means. 

Rodney Billups is likely one of the top assistants Boyle has ever had, his Denver basketball team went 7-24 last season, the same record as Ray's Southeastern Missouri. 

But even those that can accept that, they are still worried about his recruiting pedigree.

His recruiting classes at Mississippi State weren't great by any means. And Mississippi State recruited well after that. 

But Colorado basketball is about getting the right players. Finding the guys that are going to buy into the program and hit their ceiling. 

Yes, Coleman had the connections to make Colorado become a destination school for top recruits in the country. But there wasn't much of a return during his one year. I'm still convinced they would've landed the same guys they did had Coleman not been on the staff. 

And CU has been successful to date with the way Boyle has recruited during his 10 years, and we know Ray isn't going to make that worse. 

But I think there is so much about this hire that actually makes a lot of sense.

Assistant coach Bill Grier has head coaching experience. He was the head coach at San Diego for eight seasons and he was an assistant with Gonzaga. 

But Boyle has never had an assistant that has legitimate head coaching experience at the power conference level. Ray coached in the SEC.

No, he was not successful but if he was, he wouldn't be sitting next to Boyle next season.

He is another guy to lean on and has way more experience of in-game coaching than Coleman. 

Ray will find a way to recruit. It's clear even by the way that coaches congratulated him on Twitter when he was hired that he is well respected in the industry and that can go a long way in landing recruits. 

"Recruiting is about relationships," Ray said in a release. "I’m a person who is honest and truthful to recruits and parents and people appreciate that.”

He has connections all over the country which should help with recruiting nationally. And if he can build relationships with recruits and their families, he's going to have success.

This is also a guy that won't have my teams calling for their vacant head coaching jobs anytime soon. Boyle will have years to prepare him for his next opportunity. 

There are times to get up in arms about certain decisions. But I don't see the doom and gloom here.

On paper, this is one of the best assistant coaching hires Boyle has made. 

Comments (1)
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eastcoastbuff
eastcoastbuff

"On paper, this is one of the best assistant coaching hires Boyle has made"? Seriously? What CU has needed is a slam-dunk recruiter on staff. Coleman may have been that. We don't know. But there's nothing "on paper" suggesting that Ray is anything near that. Not as an assistant, not as a head coach.

While Boyle has my support, and he's done better than past CU coaches, CU has had a talent shortfall in reaching the top. If I'm not mistaken, CU has never been one of the top four Pac-12 teams to get a bye in the conference tournament. Not once since joining the league in 2012. Something needs to change on the talent pipeline. This hire isn't going to do it.


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