Today we will continue a series of profiles on the Cavaliers Coaching Staff by looking at another one of the more experienced members of that staff, Jim Boylan.
After finishing the earlier profile on Bernie Bickerstaff, it seemed logical to continue with another Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach with experience as a head coach. On June 26, Jim Boylan was hired as the lead assistant coach of Mike Brown’s staff after not being offered a contract by the Milwaukee Bucks despite guiding the team to the playoffs after taking over for Scott Skiles midseason. Boylan brings a wealth of NBA experience to the Cavaliers that should be an asset to the team this coming season.
Jim Boylan first gained basketball fame playing point guard for Marquette University as its men’s basketball team won the 1977 NCAA title, defeating North Carolina in the championship game. Boylan was then drafted in the fourth round (68th overall) of the NBA draft by the then San Diego Clippers. Boylan never played in the NBA however, and instead played briefly in Europe. His coaching career began in Switzerland in 1982 and continued with a stop as an assistant at Michigan State and a stint from 1989 to 1992 as the head coach of the University of New Hampshire Men’s Basketball Team.
Boylan’s NBA coaching career ironically began in Cleveland, when he was hired as a video coordinator and advance scout for Lenny Wilkens in 1992. Boylan stayed through the coaching change to Mike Fratello until 1997, when he was hired as an assistant coach for the Vancouver Grizzlies under Brian Hill and later Lionel Hollins. In 2000 Boylan moved on to the Phoenix Suns, where he eventually became an assistant under Scott Skiles, a relationship that would continue with two other NBA franchises.
After spending the 2003-2004 season as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks, Boylan was hired as the lead assistant coach to Skiles, who was the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls. Boylan spent most of the next four seasons in this role, until he was named Interim Head Coach on December 27, 2007 after Skiles was fired. Boylan was relieved of his head coaching duties after going 24-32 over the rest of that season. This pattern then repeated itself with the Milwaukee Bucks, where Boylan was hired as an assistant to Skiles in May of 2008, only to take over as interim head coach when Skiles resigned last January.
While Boylan has not had tremendous success as a head coach, his twenty-one years of NBA experience bring another perspective to a coaching staff whose members have a variety of backgrounds. He also has experience coaching two ball-dominant guards in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, and what he learned during that time, both positive and negative, should help the Cavaliers as they find how to best utilize Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters together on offense and defense. This, along with his experience working with a variety of different styles of offense and defense as an assistant coach should help the Cavaliers find the playing styles on both sides of the ball that work best for their new roster.