Joe Boylan had a long and distinguished career in college athletics and his time at Rutgers was something the entire Scarlet Knights community benefitted from. His time around the men’s basketball program spanned six decades and he was present for every NCAA Tournament appearance leading up to last season. Boylan suffered a stroke right before the Big Ten Tournament and his passing on March 21, 2021 came hours before the men’s basketball team suffered a season ending loss to Houston in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
He first served as associate head basketball coach at Rutgers from 1973-1985 under head coach Tom Young before becoming a radio analyst for six years. At the same time, he also served as Assistant Athletic Director of Academic Support Programs. Boylan then to become athletic director at Loyola of Maryland, where he served for 19 years. He ultimately returned and resumed his analyst role for Rutgers men’s basketball radio broadcasts since 2016. He teamed up with play by play analyst Jerry Recco and the likeable duo have called every key moment of the Steve Pikiell era leading up to Rutgers’ NCAA Tournament appearance this past March.
Boylan spoke passionately about the rise of the men’s basketball team under Pikiell during his appearance on episode no. 60 of our On The Banks podcast from February 25, 2020.
The Rutgers men’s basketball team and the entire community mourned the loss of Joe Boylan after his passing at 82 years of age.
After the defeat to Houston in which he informed the team of Boylan’s passing immediately after the game, Pikiell said “I want to send my condolences to Coach Boylan, our beloved radio guy. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He traveled with us for the last five years and was the voice of Rutgers basketball. He will be really missed. He was one of the greatest people that I’ve been around. He was a special person. I’m really sorry for his family, he is a loss for everyone. He was a legend at Rutgers. He was a special person. I know he’s in heaven, he’s that kind of guy. I want to send my prayers to his family.”
Boylan was a positive influence on the players throughout his time at Rutgers and Geo Baker spoke after the loss as well about what he meant to him personally. He said, “Coach Boylan has been my biggest supporter since I first have been on campus. Just always talking, always calling me, not even talking about basketball, asking me about how my family is, how my mom is, how I’m doing. Just so much more than just basketball. To hear that (his passing), too, it only added to the emotion in the locker room.”
His radio partner for five years, Jerry Recco, said of Boylan, “Joe was one of the nicest men I have ever met. It was an absolute honor to work with him for the last five years and to call him my friend. It’s heartbreaking. I’ll miss him dearly.”
Muting the television broadcast and listening to Recco and Boylan call the game instead was something I used to do. They were that good together.
From my own experience in a few interactions with Boylan, he was extremely nice and supportive to me without ever having known me previously. He was that kind of person.
On Friday, as part of National Radio Day, Rutgers honored Boylan with this video below. It was a classy move for a classy man that was a huge part of Rutgers men’s basketball for many years. Just a warning that you may get chills or goosebumps, along having the need for tissues as well.
Rest in Peace, Joe Boylan.