by Marlys Kruger
Patrick Boughton, a 1996 graduate of Colfax High School was recently named the new head coach for the Eau Claire Regis girls’ basketball team. Yes, that would be the team that has given Colfax some of their most challenging games over the past several years and more then likely will continue to do so in the future.
Boughton’s road to becoming the Ramblers coach began in his old high school gym. Although he was not your typical “star” varsity player like many coaches were in their high school days, his interest was peaked when he was asked by then head boys coach Andy Meade if he would like to do the book and keep stats for the team his senior year.
“I played basketball through my sophomore year,” Boughton explained. “Then I broke my finger playing football my junior year so I missed the basketball season. My senior year, there were some talented underclassmen coming up and I pretty much knew I wouldn’t get much playing time so when coach Meade asked me to help out in another capacity I said sure. It gave me a great opportunity to observe coach Meade and his coaching techniques and I think that’s when I decided I would like to coach myself some day.”
It didn’t take long for him to get started in the coaching business. After graduation he attended Minnesota State-Mankato and in 1998, he accepted a position at Lake Crystal-Welcome Memorial High School, a small school in Lake Crystal, not far from Mankato. He was the assistant boy’s basketball coach and worked with the summer program for seven years. He then became the girl’s varsity coach for the 2005-06 season. From there, he moved on to Holy Family Catholic High School which is a private school in Victoria, MN in the Twin Cities area. He became the schools first ever Sports Information Director, was an assistant Athletic Director and built the middle school sports program from scratch along with being an assistant coach for the boy’s varsity team. The team won a state championship in 2007 and according to head coach Matt Thuli, Boughton was a vital member of the coaching staff that season and the for the next three years. When budget cuts led to some restructuring for staff members at the school, Boughton’s job was cut in 2010.
He moved on to Henry Sibley High School in Mendota, MN (a rather large public school in the suburbs of Minneapolis), where he was again an assistant coach for the boy’s team for one year. After that, he moved back to the Colfax area and began coaching in the AAU program and was the head coach for the Minnesota Select girls 17U team from 2010-13. Anyone who has had a son or daughter on one of these elite teams knows the extensive travel involved.
“I took teams to Las Vegas, Louisville and plenty of other cities around the U.S.,” he said. “I was also the Assistant Program Director which involved conducting tryouts, recruiting athletes, hiring coaches and planning tournaments,” he added. He brought his talents closer to home when he coached in the Colfax Girls Youth Basketball program this past year.
“My goal was to become a head coach around the area and since I had worked in a private school before, I thought Regis would be a great program to coach in,” he said. “I had applied for the position twice before but lost out to a couple of pretty good coaches. I guess the third time’s the charm,” he said with a laugh.
Boughton is well aware of the fact that Colfax fans do not have a lot of love for Regis teams.
“After working in a private school in Minnesota, I have heard all the talk about “recruiting” and how kids transfer to private schools just to play sports,” he said. “But I have done some background checking and all my players at Regis came through the Catholic school system. We have an extremely talented group of girls who have played together for years. And I know all about the tradition of having winning teams here so I know there will be pressure to keep up that tradition. But now days there is pressure in any coaching position so I think I can handle it,” he added.
Local fans may want to circle Jan. 19 on their calenders, the night Boughton will bring his Ramblers over to play the Colfax girls. Although the Lady Vikes beat Regis twice last year, once in Eau Claire in a regular season game and the second time in regional play at home, the Ramblers return just about their whole team that tied for the Western Cloverbelt title last season and went to state two years ago.
“I have already had one of my buddies tell me he would congratulate me one time on getting the job, but it would be the last time he would do that,” Boughton said, again with a laugh. “It will be interesting when I enter the Colfax gym as the “rival coach” but it will also be fun and I hope a successful evening for my team,” he concluded.
Colfax coach Joe Doucette had the chance to observe Boughton work with younger kids through his Colfax program this past year.
“Pat did a nice job in our youth program,” Doucette said. “He inherits one of the best teams in the state with Regis and I think he will do well. They will be a handful when they come to Colfax this winter,” he added.