Boykins tabbed as Douglas County's new basketball coach
Former Nugget hopes to turn Huskies around
Earl Boykins, standing 5-foot-5, was the second shortest player in National Basketball Association history.
Boykins has obviously learned how to deal with challenges and now he'll be facing another big challenge after being named the new head boys basketball coach at Douglas County High School.
Huskies athletic director Jeff Gardella was looking for a spark when he was screening candidates to replace Jeff Riley. Gardella appreciated Riley's commitment to building the program but it was time for a change and a new direction.
Gardella settled on Boykins, who inherits a program that has gone 29-110 over the past six seasons.
"My committee chose Earl because of his vision and philosophy and the fact that throughout his whole life he was told he couldn't do something and he did," said Gardella.
"Everyone has told me that you can't build a good basketball program at DC and I don't believe that and neither does Earl. So when people tell him he won't be a good high school basketball coach, well let's just see. I am willing to stand with him to get this accomplished."
Boykins, who was told he was too small to play at Eastern Michigan and the NBA yet still succeeded, is anxious to start putting more digits in the win column for the Huskies.
"First of all I want to thank Jeff for letting me be a coach and hiring me," said Boykins. "I know a lot of people are wondering why I chose it. I view it as an opportunity to help young kids become better basketball players.
"I wanted to coach high school basketball. I was looking to become a head coach and I decided to apply. I enjoy the teaching aspect and this is just an opportunity that I felt was the right fit for me."
Boykins played 13 seasons in the NBA for 10 different teams and the four seasons he played for the Denver Nuggets were among his best as he averaged 12.08 points and 4.03 assists in 255 games for the Nuggets.
The 37-year-old Boykins has coached seventh- and eighth-grade players at his basketball academies in Cleveland and south Denver but has never coached high school.
"The main thing is getting kids to play hard," explained Boykins. "That's my one goal. Basketball at every level is the same. The only difference is the athletes. The way the game is played and what it takes to win at every level from 10-year-olds to NBA players is the same. You have to teach them what it takes to win."
Douglas County was 3-20 last season and the top returners that saw significant action a year ago are juniors Luke Bowe and Taylor Williams and sophomore Mitchell Staples. Those three players combined to average 7.9 points per game.
"My goal is to develop the players to where when the season starts in December, we are ready," said Boykins. "I have a couple months to get the guys ready. I look forward to coaching in the Continental League and look at this as a challenge. I've never been one to shy away from a challenge."
Castle View names new head coach as well
Douglas County isn't the only school with a new head boys basketball coach.
Russ McKinstry, who led Lewis-Palmer to state championships in 2012 and 2013, has accepted the job at Castle View High School.
McKinstry stepped down after the 2013 season to become the athletic director at Chaparral. However, he accepted a private business offer and was at Chaparral for less than a month.
McKinstry has won 418 games in 25 years of coaching and replaces Tory Mansfield who compiled a 60-92 record in eight years at Castle View.
The Sabercats posted a 10-14 record last year and were 4-7 in league play.