Thiel player back
with alma mater
By Steve Ruman
Steve Boyle’s early coaching career took him to Pennsylvania and Maine.
It is now bringing him back home, and to what he described as his “dream job.”
Boyle was named the head football coach at Howland High School on Monday. Boyle’s hiring was made official when he was approved by the Howland Board of Education at its monthly meeting.
Boyle replaces Dom Menendez, who resigned in December after a five-year stint.
“This is something I always wanted to do,” said the 2003 Howland graduate. “Even before I played football, I remember being a ball boy for the football and basketball teams, and I knew I wanted to be a coach. I would watch the coaches and see how they worked, then later on I would see the impact they had on me and my teammates, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.
“I always dreamed of doing this in Howland. Ever since I played for the Little Tigers, the school and the community gave so much to me. I want to give back.”
During his playing days at Howland, Boyle was a jack-of-all-trades. He was used primarily as a wide receiver and defensive back, but also played the tailback position and was a linebacker. When the Tigers’ starting quarterback broke his foot at the end of the 2003 season, Boyle even filled in under center.
Howland reached the playoffs during Boyle’s junior and senior seasons under then-head coach Dick Angle.
“I played everywhere but on the line,” Boyle said. “I just loved being out there. I never wanted to leave the field.”
Boyle then played for Thiel College, where he graduated in 2007. With the Tomcats, he was a defensive back and a three-year letter winner. Boyle is tied for fourth all-time on the school’s career interceptions list.
Immediately upon graduating from Thiel, Boyle began his coaching career. Along with several stints as an assistant at Thiel, he coached at Maine Maritime Academy and the University of Maine.
Boyle returned to the area in 2015, and was part of the Howland staff last fall.
“I’ve been lucky, I’ve been very fortunate in that I have played for and worked with a number of coaches who taught me so much about the game and about what it means to be in this profession,” Boyle said. “One thing I learned early on is that coaching is an extension of teaching.
“Are wins and losses important? Yes, everyone wants to win. We’ll certainly strive to succeed on the field. But beyond that, where will my players be in five or ten years? What will they be doing ten years down the road? That will be a true measure of success.”
Howland athletic director Andrea Ferenac said that Boyle’s Howland background along with his coaching experience made him a perfect candidate for the job.
“During our search, it was clear coach Boyle was the right fit for the job,” Ferenac said. “Besides his familiarity with the program and community, he has great passion for the game and a strong work ethic. Our goal was to get someone who could not only successfully lead the football program, but understand the importance of building relationships with our student-athletes, parents, lower level football programs, other athletic programs, faculty, and most importantly the community.”
Howland went 6-4 last fall, winning five of its final six games. The Tigers will compete in the All-American Conference for one more season, then face the unenviable task of playing as an independent beginning in 2019.
Boyle is unfazed by the challenges.
“I know a great deal has been made about us having to scramble for games and such, but I have all the confidence in the world that [Ferenac] will make the right decisions as far as schedules and possible league affiliations go,” Boyle said. “Those things will take care of themselves, and we’ll be ready to play whoever we line up against.”
Howland opens the 2018 season Aug. 24 at Lakeview.