CHICAGO – As he walked across the court at the Advocate Center on Monday, he did so with a sense of humility and responsibility.
It had been a buys 12 hours for Jim Boylen, who found out he’d gotten a promotion on Sunday night at the expense of a friend. The next day, he was trying to get the Bulls ready for the Pacers on Tuesday night.
He’s the replacement for Fred Hoiberg, who was let go after a 5-19 start to the season and a perceived lack of “energy and spirit” from the group the past few weeks. Boylen, who was given the job full time instead of in an interim role by the franchise, was first to think of his former boss when he got the biggest promotion of his career.
“The opportunity he gave me, the time we spent together. The games we won, the games we lost. We had a great relationship,” said Boylen, who said that Hoiberg congratulated him on getting the job after learning he was fired at the Advocate Center on Monday. “Fred will be missed by me.”
Yet at the same time, the new Bulls coach exuded an air of quiet confidence about his new gig during his introductory news conference.
“How they want this team coached, they feel like I’m the guy for it,” said Boylan. “I’m excited about it and I feel I’m the guy for it.”
Boylen will jump right in this week as his first game comes under 48 hours after he got word that he’s taking over the team, and about 36 hours after the news was made public. He takes the team to Indianapolis to face the Pacers at 6 PM on Tuesday, doing so with Bulls squad that has lost their last six games.
He’ll have Lauri Markkanen back, but Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis continue to rehab from knee injuries suffered early in the season. He’ll have the same problem has Hoiberg did the first 24 games of the season – figuring out how to get things done with a short-handed roster. Yet Boylen is confident he can keep the team moving forward as the new year approaches.
“I don’t think anybody has a better vantage point of who this team is and what it is, what it was, what it can be than me,” said Boylen. “From the experiences that I’ve had and where I’ve been and who I’ve been with, I’m going to try and use all that to make us into a better ballclub and to build our culture in a positive way.”
The Bulls are expecting him to, and the coach seems confident that he’s the guy to make that happen.