He first dreamed of spending life fretting over futures and options and financial derivatives. He settled on ball screens and V-cuts and gap penetration. Different as Wall Street and wall squats.
Tad Boyle couldn't say no to the itch that draws all sorts of men, commodity traders included, to coach basketball. He sort of liked the idea of waking up to a sweatsuit rather than a three-piece suit.
He also threw a party last March and seemingly invited the entire state of Colorado, convinced his team that was then 21-13, with wins against Texas and Missouri, would hear its name when the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced.
He cooked up some barbecue, opened his front door and planned a celebration sure to sway the Rocky Mountains from their foundation.
You can imagine the silence when 68 teams were unveiled and the Buffaloes weren't among them.
Morgues aren't that still.
"In terms of what happened last year, you have to ask the (selection) committee," Boyle said. "In terms of what I think, we have some work to do to get respect on the national level. We cried about it at the time. We tried to talk about the injustice. But at the end of the day, nobody really cares. Life moves on."
There was no such suspense this year, no chance the barbecue would spoil. Colorado won four games in as many days at the Pac-12 tournament last week to earn an automatic NCAA berth as an 11 seed opposite No. 6 UNLV tonight at The Pit.
NCAA games between teams that aren't familiar with one another are almost always decided by individual matchups. And the fact that "mental toughness" is the first phrase most use when describing Colorado gives Boyle's team a fighting chance to beat the Rebels.
Boyle is 49 and has made Colorado a team built to run in thin air, so it will be interesting to see if the Buffaloes dare challenge UNLV to a transition game at 5,300 feet of altitude. I'm guessing they won't, because you have to think he has watched enough of UNLV's half-court offense to realize the best way to eliminate the Rebels is to challenge their (lack of) brawn.
He played at Kansas and was a senior captain when Danny Manning first strolled onto campus. Boyle was a point guard that wasn't all that fast but was all that smart. He tried the commodities trade for a while, but could never get basketball out of his mind. It happens. It's quite an itch.
He assisted at several schools before landing the coaching post at Northern Colorado in 2006, where labels about toughness and defensive tenacity and aggressive rebounders began defining his teams.
They followed him to Colorado, where he has won 47 games over two seasons and never thinks about where his life might have led had he stayed in a world of marketable items produced to satisfy our wants and needs.
"No regrets," Boyle said. "I've never been one of those guys to look back on a decision and wonder what might have happened. I've been blessed, been around good people, worked for great head coaches. But I still watch the 'Money Channel' now and again."
Momentum can be a dangerous thing in March, and Colorado has a ton of it given how it played in its league tournament. But this is still a team with an RPI of 62 and a schedule strength of 74, a team that lost at home to Wyoming and wasn't in the same ZIP code of an NCAA berth until its magical run over four days in Los Angeles.
Its seniors, however, haven't forgotten last year's snub. One, Nate Tomlinson, said Wednesday he has a picture hung up at home of all those teammates that were denied a bid and aren't around to enjoy this one.
"I wish them the best in the NCAA Tournament," Arizona coach Sean Miller said following his team's loss to Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament final. "Whoever draws them is running into a hungry, well-coached, disciplined team."
That whoever is UNLV. I like its chances against Tad Boyle in a basketball game. If this were about trading grains or livestock or precious metals, I'd think otherwise.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday on "Gridlock," ESPN Radio 1100 AM and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.