Memorial Service Held for Coach Boyd
Written by Tim Gayle
A memorial service [was] held at 2 p.m. [November 13th, 2011] at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church to honor the life of former Robert E. Lee boys basketball coach Bernard Boyd, who passed away in Melbourne, Fla., on Oct. 29.
Boyd, a former Sidney Lanier and Troy basketball standout, was a teacher and coach at Lee from 1962 to 1988, fielding one of the state's top teams in 1974 and 1975.
"He was a lot more successful than people thought he was," said Trinity athletic director and former Lee assistant coach Jim Tuley, who will be one of the speakers at today's service. "But he's been gone (from the area) for a long, long time. And it was never about him. His anonymity was fine with him. But he was a good guy who did a good job at Lee."
After his graduation from Troy, he took his first job at New Brockton as the school's baseball and basketball coach for two years, then went to Lanett for two years to serve as the basketball and assistant football coach.
In 1962, Boyd took over as basketball coach of the Generals, where he provided a competitive team for 22 seasons, earning all-metro honors five times in the process. He started his career during a state championship run by Lanier and closed out his career in the 1980s as first Carver, then Jeff Davis, made runs to the championship game.
"Coach Boyd was a wonderful man," said former Lanier coach John Bricken, who faced Boyd's best team in his first year as basketball coach of the Poets in 1974. "He was nice and always even keeled. He was an intense coach, I'll tell you that. He was always well prepared and always put a good team on the court."
Boyd reached the state tournament three times, including back-to-back trips in 1974 and 1975. His best team was the latter, when Jerome Liggett, Skip Mainor, Mike Dudley, Wiley Peck and Cedric Hordges took a 28-0 team to the state tournament in Tuscaloosa, only to lose to Robert "Rah Rah" Scott and his Parker team, which went on to win the Class 4A state championship.
"They could play 100 more times and they wouldn't beat us," Tuley said, echoing a feeling felt by many who had seen the 1975 Generals.
Tuley was a junior in 1962 when Boyd arrived on the scene at Lee.
"He was so different (from previous coaches)," he recalled. "Coach Boyd was really laid back. He wasn't the guy who hollered all the time. Now, he'd get in your face, but he'd always talk to you. He was a great basketball coach and it was in an era when Lanier was really, really good. I think he was very successful."
Boyd retired from teaching and coaching at Lee after the 1988 basketball season, but later served as an administrator at several schools in the Montgomery area as well as a short coaching stint at Catholic. He moved to St. Cloud, Fla., in 1991 and coached basketball for another 14 years before retiring in 2005.
A memorial service was held in Melbourne for Boyd on Monday morning.