COLONIE By Jim Boland's own admission, he could have taken a head coaching job at any time over the last couple of decades, but he held out.
Not any more.
After 30 years as an assistant to Richard "Doc" Sauers at the University at Albany and Doug Kilmer at Colonie, Boland has moved up to replace Kilmer as the head coach of the Garnet Raiders.
"I had some opportunities I could have pursued in years past ... but I didn't," said Boland. "My son played at Colonie, and Doug's a great friend. I wanted to work with him. When Doug stepped down after last season, I felt I owed it to the kids there to take over."
The players Boland inherits are short on varsity playing experience, but he characterizes them as full of potential.
"This year, I think this will be our best shooting team in several years," said Boland. "At least, I hope so. They seem to be making their shots in practice."
Swingman Ryan Nicholson and center Sam Hart are two of the holdovers from last year's team. Senior Nick Donato returns to the Garnet Raiders after missing the entire 2012-13 season due to an arm injury, while junior guard Nolan Smith is someone Boland said could be their best offensive option. Ohenio Miller joins Colonie after playing for Mekeel Christian Academy in Scotia the past couple of years.
"I think we might be a little better than people think," said Boland. "We hustle, and we've got some guys coming off the bench who can contribute. We'll probably go eight (players) deep."
Colonie faces an unrelenting schedule within the Suburban Council South Division. Bethlehem, Guilderland, Columbia, Averill Park and Mohonasen all return the majority of their starters.
"Guilderland is loaded, and Bethlehem is going to be very good," said Boland. "Columbia has tons of players who can pass, shoot and rebound the ball well, too."
The Garnet Raiders get Columbia out of the gate Friday in East Greenbush. They cross the Hudson River again Tuesday, Dec. 10, to play Averill Park before giving Boland his first chance to coach his first varsity home game on Friday, Dec. 13, against Guilderland.
"I still teach at Colonie, and I'm close to the kids there. It would have been hard for me to coach at another school," said Boland.