The Big 12 men’s college basketball conference will have a touch of Brooklyn on the sidelines this upcoming season.
Mike Boynton, a graduate of Bishop Loughlin H.S., Fort Greene, was recently named the 20th head coach in program history for the Oklahoma State University (OSU), Stillwater, Okla., men’s basketball team.
He brings a 13-year coaching pedigree to the Cowboys’ bench. The 35-year-old will be the only first-year head coach in the conference.
The Bedford-Stuyvesant native starred as a point guard for Bishop Loughlin from 1996 to 2000. He initially looked at Nazareth H.S., East Flatbush, Xaverian , Bay Ridge, and Bishop Ford, Park Slope, as possible schools, but he decided Loughlin was the best fit based on its academic and athletic tradition.
Boynton played three years on the Lions’ varsity. As a sophomore, he was named M.V.P. of the Brooklyn/Queens CHSAA and led the team to the semifinals of the city championship tournament.
During his senior season, he was again named league M.V.P. and earned first-team All-New York City honors after averaging 15 pts., 11 assists and 4 rebounds per game. The team again reached the city semifinals.
Playing for head coach Bobby Leckie at Loughlin, Boynton said he learned how to be a good teammate and respect his opponents.
“The values of hard work and commitment to your craft…that’s something that I carry with me to this day,” said Boynton, who was inducted into the Loughlin Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
Playing in the competitive CHSAA taught Boynton that he had to fight every day on the court just to stay on a level playing field, since every team was a powerhouse program.
“It was a tremendous benefit to me as I’ve gone through life and really still to this day,” he said. “I feel like it’s given me an edge. I feel like it’s given me a sense of competitive fire that I’m always trying to do the absolute best that I possibly can.”
After Loughlin, Boynton played his college basketball at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, from 2000 to 2004. He made 129 three-pointers in 125 career games and averaged 9.9 pts. and 3.5 assists per game his senior season, in which the Gamecocks earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Upon graduating with a degree in African-American studies, he immediately broke into the coaching ranks. His first stop was as a graduate assistant coach at Furman University, Greenville, S.C.
He then spent two seasons as an assistant at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, S.C. From there, he became the associate head coach at Wofford University, Spartanburg, S.C.
For the next five seasons, Boynton coached as an assistant at his alma mater South Carolina. He then moved on to Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, Texas, for three seasons.
He spent last season as an assistant at OSU before being elevated to head coach on March 24. Just like the CHSAA, the Big 12 is chock full of talented teams, so there will be no letdown from Boynton’s bunch.
As he takes the reigns of his own program, Boynton said he would look back to his experiences at Loughlin to guide him. Treating his players with respect and forming genuine relationships with them are keys to starting his first season on a high note.
“We’re all in this together,” he said. “The more we can do things on one accord, the more success we’re going to have.”
With just a few months to go before the start of the season, Boynton’s main focus is on recruiting. He said he would certainly look to the CHSAA – the league he played in – for talented student-athletes who would fit well in his program.
Boynton’s basketball journey started right here in Brooklyn, and now he’s set to write the next chapter as OSU’s coach.
Hopefully having the benefit of a Loughlin background will help him lay the framework of a successful Big 12 program.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.