Brad Boyd Returns Home

Last year former Louisiana sharp-shooting guard and graduate assistant coach Brad Boyd accepted an assistant boys basketball coaching job at Opelousas (La.) High School fully prepared to wait for his opportunity to lead the program.

That time arrived earlier than expected as the 33-year-old Boyd was officially promoted Wednesday to replace Jamie Rollins as the new OHS head coach.

“I didn’t even think I was going to get the job,” the Opelousas-born Boyd told the Cajun Redzone on Wednesday morning. “I was so excited when I found out I got it. You should have seen my face. I’ve already received a lot of support and it means a lot to know people in the community are supporting me.”

Before joining the OHS staff last season, Boyd served as the head girls hoops coach for Class 1A Ascension Episcopal School in nearby Youngsville for two years following a five-year stint as an oilfield salesman.

“We won seven games in our first year (at AES) after not winning one the year before and won 13 games the next season,” Boyd said. “Our goal was to make the playoffs that second year and we missed by two spots, but they made the playoffs this year so I’m proud of them for that.”

Boyd, who grew up playing basketball at North City Park in Opelousas and attended Acadiana Prep, developed into a two-time all-state guard for coach Danny Broussard at St. Thomas More before a standout career with the Cajuns from 2000-04. For the past 10 years he’s owned and operated Elite Basketball Training (for more info visit bradboydbasketball.com), held his own summer basketball camps and been involved with the Acadiana Stars, an AAU program he coached starting in 2005 before becoming its director last year. There was also a stint as co-head coach of the American Basketball Association’s Louisiana United in the 2010-11 season.

Now Boyd will coach against Broussard and STM with OHS moving into a new Class 4A district next season. He will continue to teach special ed at the school.

“I played for the best high school basketball coach in Louisiana in Danny Broussard and I learned a lot of things from him,” Boyd said. “We’re definitely going to play at an up-tempo pace and run some five-man motion, but we’re also going to spread the floor and value possessions to finish and win games. A lot of Opelousas kids come from tough situations, but they’re good kids and I expect them to be tough and play hard. They’re going to have to be willing to dive on the floor and play hard because you have to do that to compete in 4A basketball.”

Boyd — who credits his mom, Beth Boyd, and Anne Hollier for teaching him the fundamentals of the game and the importance of competition, hard work and good sportsmanship — sees taking over at OHS as another step in eventually landing his dream job.

“I want to be here as long as I can, but my ultimate goal is to be head coach at UL,” Boyd said. “This job will allow me to prove the type of coach I am and can be and show I can organize a program and do what’s needed to make it to the next level. I’m a firm believer in helping others and this is part of the process to give back and help kids. I know in my heart I will be back at UL one day, and I think this is the next step to help me do that.”

Boyd left his mark as a player for the Cajuns. The three-year starter finished as their all-time leader in 3-pointers made (271) — which is third in Sun Belt Conference history — in addition to scoring 1,130 career points and ranking in the top 20 in assists and steals. His 17 assists against North Texas on Jan. 24, 2002 remain a Cajundome record and are tied for the most in a SBC game.

As a junior Boyd made the All-Louisiana first team and All-Sun Belt second team after averaging 16.8 points per game and leading the Cajuns to a second straight NIT appearance. He made the conference all-tournament team as a senior as the Cajuns won the SBC tournament and advanced to the NCAA tourney. As a sophomore and senior he led the team in assists.

Following his senior season Boyd participated in pre-draft camps with several NBA teams and played for the World Basketball Association’s Rome Gladiators and ABA’s Arkansas RimRockers and Louisiana Pelicans. He turned down offers to play professionally in Jerusalem and Lebanon due to safety concerns and rejoined the Cajuns as a graduate assistant coach in 2005 and left after earning his degree two years later.

For Boyd, a few moments stand out from his time with the Cajuns. In his senior season the Cajuns made the NCAA tourney. That season he had a memorable reverse, between-the-legs pass to a streaking Dwayne Mitchell that resulted in a dunk against North Texas. In a win at No. 12 Mississippi State as a junior, he scored 33 points and made nine 3s, which is still a Humphrey Coliseum record.

“The greatest moment for me was our team winning the conference championship and playing in March Madness,” he said. “Scoring all those points and setting that 3-point record at Mississippi State was great, but I think my hiking the ball to Dwayne Mitchell for the dunk was the most exciting play in school history. I’ve seen some impressive stuff — alley-oops and guys dunking on people — but never seen someone hike a ball like that and the guy get an and-1 dunk. I still have people ask me about that play.”

Boyd also treasures the friendships he cultivated with his teammates.

“One of the things I look back on a lot was every day in the offseason our whole team would go and play pickup ball together,” Boyd said. “Playing those extra pickup games allowed us to develop better chemistry and know more about our teammates when we played real games. I’m still friends with all those guys.”

As for the Cajuns, Boyd is optimistic about their chances next season with the return of all-conference big man Shawn Long and several other key players from a 22-win team that advanced to the CIT quarterfinals.

“Personally, I think they’re going to be the favorite to win the league with Shawn coming back and could even win a game in the NCAA tournament,” Boyd said. “Shawn should be the player of the year in the league. I don’t know of anybody else in the league who is better than him. Bob Marlin is a good coach, a solid X’s and O’s guy and a winner. I think there will be a lot of pressure on them to win, but you live for pressure if you’re a true basketball player. A 20-win season and the NCAA tournament are definitely in reach.”

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