by ADAM GRUENEWALD
As the fall sports season draws closer with classes starting soon, Central will be without two of its teachers, one of whom also served as boys’ basketball coach.
Central sixth-grade teacher and head boys’ basketball and junior high baseball coach Nat Boyer, along with wife and third-grade teacher Kristie, have left the district with Boyer announcing his resignation in mid-July.
Boyer, 38, who will not be coaching basketball, is taking over the senior high principal position at Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, replacing Steve Schauberger. Kristie will teach first grade.
“It’s good for our family to teach in the same district,” said Boyer. “It will be a good move.”
Boyer added meeting with his letterwinners, which he did shortly after announcing his resignation, was the most emotional in his departure.
“It effectively ends my career as coach,” said Boyer, whose last game was a Section 2AA playoff loss at Glencoe-Silver Lake on April 25, 49-29. “That’s my plan. I’m 99.9 percent sure I’m done coaching. I want to leave the door open a little bit, but it’s time for me to begin the next stage of my career.”
The opportunity also gives him a chance to continue the legacy of his dad, Tony, who passed away in June after a five-year battle with kidney cancer.
“I’m trying to follow in his footsteps but not try to fill his shoes because he was good at what he did,” said Boyer. “That’s been my inspiration to do what I’m doing. Hopefully carry on the legacy that he’s left.”
Boyer added he learned a lot from his dad who was in education for 44 years, including 22 years as an administrator.
“That is my one regret, that he didn’t get to be there when I was offered my job,” said Boyer. “Make no mistake about it he was there in my interview, I know he was. He watched over me and made sure I said all the right things.”
Boyer said that he would one day like to be a superintendent.
“That’s one of those things that was part of the process and eventually I’ll be looking at the superintendent position,” he said. “Not at this time, but I’d like to see my career go (there).”
Prior to his retirement, Tony was superintendent at G-F-W schools, which helped Boyer understand the district.
“I know that the district in good shape,” he said. “It’s got a lot of parallels to Norwood Young America, Central in size and even its location.”
As an administrator, Boyer said he can move his career forward from teaching and coaching.
“Being able to not just influence the students, but influence the students and staff and be an educational leader,” he said. “I was given great opportunities here (at Central) but with this position I’m given greater opportunities.”
The transition does conclude his basketball coaching career, which was his intention when he first took the job at Central.
“This is where I wanted to end my coaching career,” he said. “I’ve been really fortunate and my family’s been fortunate to be able to be up here.”
Boyer had coached both boys’ and girls’ programs for 17 years at various schools, including 11 years as head coach for basketball at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, softball and basketball at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton and basketball at Central.
“One thing that’s always been important to me is whenever I leave a spot is to keep the cupboard full for the next coach,” he said. “I think it’s evident that the cupboard is full here and it’s filling up more and more. They’ve got a good future here.”
Boyer is originally from New Richland where he graduated from NRHEG in 1994, where his father was principal at the time. Tony was also a former coach, which led to Boyer getting into sports, playing basketball, baseball and football for NRHEG.
“A lot of people went on vacations and travelled,” he said. “Whether it’s rec, community education or whatever it was we were always involved.”
Boyer had aspirations of playing baseball and basketball, attending Bethany Lutheran for sports before four ACL surgeries on his left knee ended his athletic career.
He then became a coach, starting under his father, while pursuing a teaching degree at MSU-Mankato. It was at Mankato where he later received a masters in sports management in 2008 and a principal licensure degrees in December 2013.
“It was just a way to reach the kids and stay connected,” he said. “It was something that was and is a major part of my life. To be able to enjoy athletics and to be able to work with kids in such a way to give them an opportunity to do things they wouldn’t get to do otherwise.”
As a coach, Boyer said winning conference at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton in 2006-07 was a major highlight since it was a process to rebuild a program that had three wins combined in two years before he started. Other highlights include winning a playoff game for the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton girls’ basketball team in 2008-09 and Central’s win over Jordan in the playoffs two years ago.
“Just to be a part of that atmosphere and see the excitement of the kids, the fans it came full circle,” he said.
In addition to working with kids at practices and games, Boyer said he would miss starting lineup introductions.
“The one thing that stands out to me is when they announce those kids and they go out,” he said. “That’s going to be the part that I’m sure the goose bumps will come back every time. You can just sense the excitement build.”
Boyer said leaving that behind is difficult, but he is excited for his new position.
“We knew it was in the future,” he said of his new position. “It was just a matter of when and the right situation.”
Boyer added that the support he has received has been great from current and former players and fans.
“The one thing about this community and the kids is they are very supportive,” he said. “There’s a mutual respect that’s been built up and that will carry on.”
Nat and Kristie have three kids, Avery, a third-grader, Isiah, a kindergartner, and Talia, 2, His other family remains close by as well with mother Maxine in Le Sueur, his older sister Leslie in LSH and brother Tim in Waseca.
Looking ahead, Tom Doyscher, who has 20 years of experience as a head coach and taught Central boys’ basketball years ago, has been named head boys’ basketball coach for Central. Doyscher accepted the position last week.
“I’ve got the utmost confidence that they’re going to be very successful,” said Boyer. “I would be very surprised if things aren’t successful for the next couple of years. I think the kids have it inside of them.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]