FOND DU LAC, Wis. - After 30 seasons at the helm of the Marian University men's basketball program, head coach Mark Boyle has announced he will retire ending the longest current basketball coaching tenure in the state of Wisconsin.
"I can't thank coach Boyle enough for his service and dedication to Marian University and the athletic department the last 30 years," commented director of athletics Jason Bartelt. "I am extremely proud of all the accomplishments of our basketball student-athletes during Coach Boyle's career. He is the most genuine coach I have had the privilege of working with and wish him and his wife Cathy all the best on the next chapter of their life."
Boyle began his tenure at Marian in 1988 and leaves Marian as the winningest coach in Sabre basketball history with 390 wins including a 154-92 (.626) record in Lake Michigan Conference Play. During the LMC era, Boyle led Marian to the LMC Conference Tournament each season under his tenure including four regular season championships; 1989-90, 1990-91, 1998-99 and 1999-2000. The Sabres also won the conference tournament four times with a three-peat coming from 1989-1991 along with a title in 2001, which earned the Sabres their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. Marian defeated Concordia Wisconsin in overtime at home to open the 2001 LMC Tournament before pulling off upsets of top-seeded Edgewood on the road and second-seeded Lakeland to earn the tournament championship. The Sabres were defeated in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament by Carthage.
He is also the only coach that Marian has had since the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference began in 2006 leading Marian to a 107-109 (.495) in NACC play. The best season of his career came in the NACC era when the 2013-14 Sabres posted a 22-7 overall record, second best record in program history, to go with a 17-3 NACC record earning the Sabres a regular season championship. Marian then rolled through the conference tournament defeating Wisconsin Lutheran and Aurora by 20 points at home before knocking off Edgewood at home to earn the program's second berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Sabres gave top-seeded UW-Stevens Point everything they had in the NCAA Tournament falling to the Pointers by a narrow 66-64 final after leading by five points at halftime.
"Looking back at my years here at Marian I can't help but think how lucky I've been," commented Boyle. "First of all doing what you have had a love for and being able to call it 'work' for all these years is almost unreal. I've had such good fortune to work with some real quality people here in the school and athletic department. From our athletic administration to the coaches and staff they have been great. Having the trust of my administration in what my assistant coaches and I were trying to do through the years really gives me a great sense of appreciation and pride. As to the quality of assistants that I've had over the years considering their loyalty, longevity and dedication through all the ups and downs I will forever be grateful. I would also be at error if I were not to mention the constant support of my family through all these years, they were always there in support of the team and myself."
Of the 19 scorers in Marian men's basketball program history that reached the 1,000 career-point plateau, Boyle had a hand in coaching 17 of them including Grant Monroe who served on Boyle's coaching staff for the past 18 seasons. Monroe was an All-LMC selection three times in his career and was a major part of the Sabre squad that earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
"As a player in my early years, I didn't appreciate the things coach Boyle was trying to teach me but by my senior year, it really hit home," commented Monroe. "He taught me the things needed to be successful on the court but more importantly off the basketball court. Off the court success for us was just as important to him as on the court success was. It's why I chose to coach with him the last 18 years because he truly cares about his players off the court and would do anything to help them succeed. He's one of the greatest and kindest men you will ever meet and I'm happy to call him my friend. He will be missed."
In total, Boyle coached 64 student-athletes to all-conference honors, eight to all-district recognition, five conference players of the year and one freshman of the year. He also went on to earn coach of the year honors in 1990, 1991, 2001, 2008 and 2014.
"And then there are all the players for whom I will always feel connected," commented Boyle on the players he coached. "They came to Marian and put their trust and faith in this program and school. My greatest hope in leaving something behind is that they can look back, being happy with their decision to come to Marian and have real pride in being part of a team. Our team!"
The Madison, Wisconsin native closes his career with a wide variety of coaching experience that included stops at Eau Claire Regis High School, Lawrence University, and UW-Green Bay. At UW-Green Bay, under then-head coach Dick Bennett, his responsibilities included recruiting, academic monitoring, and scouting.