Spotlight on Former Athlete: Brad Boyd Men's Basketball - 2000-2004, Coaches 2005-07
Ragin' Cajuns 2000-2004
17 assists vs. North Texas, Cajundome record
Boyd remains at homein Cajun, area basketball
By Bruce Brown
Brad Boyd can't wait for the 2019-2020 basketball season to begin.
The former UL Ragin' Cajun sharpshooter will finally get the chance to showcase his Southside High School Sharks, two years after that new Lafayette Parish public school began building its varsity program from scratch.
Expect the Sharks to mirror Boyd's love of up tempo, free wheeling hoops, much like his Cajun days (2000-2004) when he totalled 1,130 careers points and set the school record for three-pointers with 271.
“We're going to set a fast pace,” Boyd said. “We'll shoot the ball a lot. We'll use multiple defenses. I've had these same kids for three years now, and we'll be in full swing when we start the season.
“We had 300 people at a scrimmage the other day.”
Southside opens the season Dec, 3 against Opelousas High, a former stop on Boyd's coaching journey and his hometown team.
“It will be Icy White-Out Night,” said Boyd, a proponent of theme games at the high school level. “We're going to be so ready for the season to start.”
Eventually, Boyd, one of the most popular players in Cajun history, wants to aim higher.
“One day, I will be the coach at UL,” he said. “I feel that.”
Until then, he has a wealth of moments to pattern his career after, starring for coach Danny Broussard at St. Thomas More and then helping the Cajuns of Jessie Evans to a Sun Belt Conference crown and NCAA Tournament bid.
“I learned a lot about game management from Danny,” Boyd said. “He was great in knowing the situation and knowing what play to call. From Jessie, I learned about making a team tougher. He would set one player against the other in practice to get the best out of them.
“I also liked Jessie because if you were a shooter he wanted you to keep on shooting. We had the green light.”
Music to a young player's ears (Boyd has already selected a couple of Sharks who will be gunners for SHS).
“I always could shoot,” said Boyd. “I just went out and played. My form changed, but I was always looking to improve.
“When I was 17 or 18, my friend Cal Davis and I would go into the projects in Opelousas and play. I was the only white guy out there. It was the greatest thing in the world. It made you tough. You had to learn how to dribble in tight places without losing the ball.
“People knew me, and they didn't see color. They would pick the best players in order to win. It wasn't a black-white thing.'
More like a slice-of-life version of the film “White Men Can't Jump.”
“The summer after my sophomore year, I went to a national tournament and scored 53 points in one game,” Boyd recalled. “I started to hear from schools like USC. It was so exciting.
“After my junior year (at STM), I went to the ABCD camp in New York City, and that was eye-opening. I realized I was not at that level. I was a Division I player, but that separated talent.
“I had always wanted to go to Kentucky, but they never sent me one letter.”
Enter the hometown team.
“(Assistant coach) Bobby Champagne told me this could be your city, your school,” Boyd said of the Cajun assistant. “I had seen them against Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament, and I knew they had everybody back.
“One day I called Bobby and told him I'm coming to UL. They had a lot of flair. It was showtime.”
Basketball's deep snapper
Boyd could jump, using his 6-5 range to advantage, but he could also pass the ball as witness his 313 assists at UL including the most famous dish off in program history.
Against North Texas, Boyd took the roof off the Cajundome with a between the legs, football deep snap delivery to a streaking Dwayne Mitchell for a thunder dunk.
“Still, to this day, people will come up to me and say they remembered that play,” said Boyd, a season ticket holder at the Dome. “They remember being there. It's great to go back with them.
“I really loved to pass the ball.”
There were other of highlights, of course.
“Winning the Sun Belt and making it to the NCAA was great,” Boyd said. “I had said I wanted to go to the NCAA Tournament, and we did. I wanted to score 1,000 points. That was one of my goals. I wanted to set the record for three-pointers, and I did.
“Defeating Mississippi State over there, when I think they were ranked about tenth (actually No. 12) was big. I scored 33 including the game winning 3 (out of 9 treys that day.
“The hike was a big play.
“But, really, I'll always remember the way we got treated on campus and in the community. People treated us like kings.”
Logical step into coaching
Boyd worked under Robert Lee as a graduate assistant at UL for two years and was surprised not to receive a full-time invitation to the staff. That sent him into the oil business for four years before he got back to the game he loves.
“Eric Mouton (former UL standout) brought me in to coach the Ascension Episcopal girls team,” Boyd said. “They were just getting started and we were able to have some success in two years.
“Then I became an (boys) assistant at Opelousas High. That was my hometown. I know those kids. It was Class 4A and we were going against schools like St. Thomas More, Carencro and Northside.
“The athletic director fired the school's entire coaching staff, but I convinced them to keep me around.”
As head coach, Boyd was immediately successful raising funds and soon won on the court as well, making the playoffs his first year, getting ranked fifth in the state, and won the district in Year II.
Quickly, new Southside principal Catherine Cassidy approached Boyd about running the Sharks' program. Now the dye is cast.
Basketball in the family
Boyd, who learned much of his basketball growing up from his mother Beth and from mentor Anne Hollier, is part of a successful basketball family.
He is married to the former Blair Brodhead, daughter of Cajun women's coach Garry Brodhead. Sister-in-law Ashley Brodhead Richard coached two state tite girls teams at STM.
And his late mother-in-law, the revered Andrea Brodhead who lost a battle to breast cancer in 2016, pioneered the Biddy Basketball program in Lafayette still carried on by Blair and Ashley.
“When we get together, there's never a (basketball) question that can't be answered,” Boyd said with a smile. “We share a lot of things. And of course Andrea is always with us.”
Daughter Bryanna is 13, a tall, 4.0 middle school student, while younger daughter Andi Kay, is 3. Both love basketball.
“My wife was an All-American. Scored 3,000 points. I could play the game,” Boyd said. “Both our girls love to play, but we didn't force it on them. They're always ready to go to the gym. Bryanna is sweet to everyone. Andi's a little tougher.”
Their time will come as they grow up in the family sport.
And, perhaps there are loftier times ahead for Brad Boyd. It's already been quite a ride. And when the Southside Sharks hit the floor in December, fans will see what his young hopefuls can do with their own hoop dreams.
Coming Feb. 1:
Bring the Top 28 Back Classic
Lafayette Christian vs. Opelousas
Southside vs. Madison Prep
Following UL women in the Cajundome
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Brad Boyd and his 2002-03 teammates are pictured below.
Click here for the 2002-03 Men's Basketball Photo Gallery.