|Head Coach Brian Boyer|
One of the most recognizable names and faces in the Sun Belt Conference and women’s college basketball, Brian Boyer has built an illustrious career highlighted by countless milestones, including becoming the all-time wins leader in the SBC.
In his 16 years on the sidelines, Boyer was the primary architect in transforming the Arkansas State women’s program into a model of consistency since taking over in 1999 and guiding the team to an appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. He has coached the Red Wolves to six appearances in the WNIT and two SBC regular-season championships including the outright regular season crown in 2013-14.
An ambassador for both Arkansas State and the sport of college basketball, Boyer has enjoyed an unprecedented level of success through an energetic and positive approach to the game. A three-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year (2003-04, 2004-05 & 2013-14), Boyer has compiled an impressive 272-223 (.549) record over his 16-year career.
Boyer possesses the most conference wins by a coach in Sun Belt Conference in both the men’s and women’s game. He is the longest tenured basketball active coach in the conference and has also coached more games than any basketball coach (men’s or women’s) in Arkansas State history.
A-State has an unprecedented run of success over the last two years and has compiled 46 wins from the 2013-14 through the 2014-15 season, the third most in school history over any two-year span. Boyer helped guide the team to back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship appearances and led his squad to back-to-back WNIT berths for the first time in a decade.
The 2014-15 season saw numerous records fall in what could be considered Arkansas State’s most successful run in school history. The Red Wolves tied a school record with 21 regular season victories and fell just one win shy of tying the all-time mark of wins in a single year at 25. The squad participated in the Preseason WNIT and Postseason WNIT, one of just two teams in the country to do that, and narrowly missed garnering the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth with an RPI of 44 at season’s end. The Red Wolves had the highest RPI of any team in the country to not make the NCAA Tournament.
Boyer and the Red Wolves also made the Convocation Center one of the toughest places to play in the league, compiling a perfect 10-0 record in league play and winning a total of 14 games in Jonesboro, tying the school record (men’s and women’s) for most home in a single year. In addition, A-State has won 16 straight games at home during conference play, the second longest streak in the SBC.
Under Boyer’s tutelage, Aundrea Gamble collected her second straight Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year honor after winning the league’s scoring title and setting the school record for most assists in a single season. She was also named a CollegeSportsMadness.com Mid-Major First-Team All-American and earned Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament Team honors. In addition, Jasmine Hunt and Khadija Brown-Haywood also earned Third-Team All-Conference honors and finished second and third on the team respectfully in scoring.
The 2013-14 campaign was perhaps the best of Boyer’s historic career at A-State. The Red Wolves finished with a 22-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC). The squad captured the outright regular-season Sun Belt Conference title for the first time in school history. A-State entered the SBC Tournament as the No. 1 seed and advanced to the championship game for the second time in program history.
It was also a historic year for Boyer, who surpassed former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore and Florida International coach Cindy Russo for the most league wins in Sun Belt Conference at 136 on March 5, 2014 and won his third career SBC Coach of the Year award at the end of the season. Boyer currently stands at 153 career league wins.
Boyer has coached 25 players to All-Conference status during his tenure, but his team’s success is not limited to just on the court. The program won back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Team Academic honors in 2012-13 and 2013-14 with team GPA’s that were over the 3.0 mark.
In 2011, he became Arkansas State’s all-time leader in victories in with his 197th win over UALR on Feb. 26, 2011. He captured his 200th career win on Nov. 20, 2013 and his 225th career win on Feb. 16, 2013.
Boyer had immediate success upon being named the program’s sixth head coach in 1999-2000. He guided his initial team to an 18-12 overall record and a berth in the WNIT tournament for the second consecutive season. After a 14-win year and back-to-back 12-win season, Arkansas State entered into what was perhaps its best five-year stretch in history from 2003-2008.
Arkansas State had 96 wins over the five years, three WNIT appearances and captured a share of the 2003-04 SBC East Division regular-season crown. In 2004-05, A-State advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT, which included a 98-84 over Arkansas in front of a record crowd of 10,892 at the Convocation Center.
THROUGH THE YEARS
In his first season, Boyer guided Arkansas State to its only top-25 ranking in school history. A-State was ranked in a tie for 25th place with Boston College with 48 votes in the Associated Press Poll on Jan. 3, 2000. He finished the year with an 18-12 record making him the first coach since Sara Wooley to 18 games in the first season as a head coach.
The 2003-04 season culminated with the program's first-ever regular season conference championship, and a return to the WNIT. The Red Wolves finished 19-10 overall and 10-4 in league play, earning a share of the Sun Belt East division title as they posted one of the top turnarounds in Division I, picking up seven more wins than the previous season. A-State’s 19 victories that season were the most since the 1997-98 season, sparked in part by the best start in school basketball history - a seven game win streak to open the season. The strong start carried over into Sun Belt play as Arkansas held the top spot in the East division from start to finish. Adrianne Davie earned honorable-mention all-conference honors as a true freshman, and Boyer was rewarded with his first conference Coach of the Year Award.
In the 2004-05 season, A-State put together a program-best 10-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak, part of an 11-game win streak that was the fourth longest in school history. Arkansas finished the season 21-11 overall and in second place in the Sun Belt East Division at 11-3, giving Boyer his first 20-win season as head coach. The squad advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT Tournament, defeating SEC powers Mississippi State and Arkansas along the way. The team's success earned Boyer his second straight Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Award and joined former A-State coach Jerry Ann Winters as the only two A-State women's basketball coaches to win back-to-back coach of the year honors. Adrianne Davie, Rudy Sims and Ali Carter all earned All-Sun Belt honors following the 2004-05 season, marking the first time in Red Wolves history that three players earned all-conference honors in a single season.
In the 2006-07 season the Red Wolves finished 21-13, advanced to the second round of the WNIT before falling to eventual tournament runner-up Wisconsin, and continued to build on their already-impressive home record with a 14-2 mark at the Convocation Center. Arkansas State posted home victories over NCAA Tournament participants Oklahoma State and Louisiana-Lafayette, Southeastern Conference member Alabama, and WNIT participants South Dakota State and Murray State. In all, 14 of the Red Wolves' 34 games during the 2006-07 season were against teams that played in the NCAA or WNIT tournaments. The 2006-07 Red Wolves also reached the 10-victory milestone quicker than any other team in ASU history, picking up their 10th win of the season Jan. 3, 2007.
Under Boyer's guidance, several individual records fell during the 2006-07 season as well. Seniors Adrianne Davie and Rudy Sims rewrote the Red Wolves record books, with Davie shattering the career blocked shots record with 132 and the career rebounding record with 1,147. Sims set a new mark in career assists with 548, and became the first A-State player in over a decade to record a triple-double when she scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and handed out 10 assists in a 65-58 overtime victory at Louisiana-Lafayette. Davie was named All-Sun Belt Conference for the fourth straight season, while Sims earned the honor for the third straight year. Senior Ali Carter became the 16th member of the career 1,000-point club.
Although the 2007-08 season was expected by many to be a rebuilding year, Boyer put forth what was arguably one of his finest coaching performances, molding a group of unheralded players into a team that produced yet another 20-win season at Arkansas State. Faced with the task of replacing three 1,000-point scorers, including the program's all-time leading shot blocker and rebounder, along with the all-time assists leader, Boyer directed Arkansas State to a 20-12 record. A-State won a record 13 conference games during the 2007-08 season, and reached the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament for the 13th time in 16 tries. The Red Wolves finished the season with the distinction of being the only Division I program in the country with a winning record that did not have a single player who averaged double figure scoring.
Arkansas State posted victories over Brigham Young and Alabama early in the season, earning the win over the Crimson Tide on the road in Tuscaloosa. The Red Wolves finished 2007 with a 6-7 record, but went on a tear in the New Year, closing out the season with a 14-5 finish and a run to the semifinals of the SBC Tournament for the fourth consecutive season.
BEFORE ARKANSAS STATE
Boyer came to Arkansas State in 1995 and spent four seasons as an assistant under Jeff Mittie who has had coaching stops at TCU and now Kansas State.
Prior to his arrival he spent time as an assistant to the men's team at Missouri Western, which was a NCAA Division II Tournament participant five years (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1995) and won two conference championships. The team made the Sweet 16 in 1990. As a women's assistant, Boyer and Missouri Western made two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four in 1995 and the Elite Eight the previous season.
The team went 31-3 in 1995 and made it to the Final Eight of the national tournament. It also went undefeated through its MIAA schedule at 16-0. In 1994, the team finished third in the nation, losing in a national semifinal contest and finishing with a 29-3 overall mark.
Boyer serves on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Arkansas Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was recognized as 100 Outstanding Staff to Contribute to the success of Arkansas State during its first 100 years in 2012.
He is a highly sought after motivational speaker and speaks on a broad range of topics in addition to Red Wolves basketball and is frequently requested both locally and nationally. Boyer is extremely active in and around the Jonesboro community, donating his time and money to many organizations.
Boyer is a graduate of Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, Mo., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education. He resides in Jonesboro, Ark., with his wife Rhonda.