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Local Angle: Boyer still blazing basketball trails

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When Title IX became part of the law of the land as a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 the door to unlimited opportunities opened for women.

One of the doors that opened was equal access to the gym for girls and women’s basketball players.

In Ogdensburg, Lisa Boyer was part of the first group of OFA female athletes who seized upon the opportunity to play interscholastic sports. Female athletes of that era were called “pioneers” who blazed wide trails for others to follow.

Lisa Boyer not only achieved her dream of becoming a championship basketball player at OFA for Coach Penny (Raftis) Sharrow, she also became a collegiate basketball standout at Ithaca College and then joined the NCAA coaching ranks in a 1981 as an assistant at Davidson College.

Thirty-three years later she is still blazing trails while serving as an Associate Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for Dawn Staley at the University of South Carolina. A trail that could very well lead to the NCAA Final Four next month.

Dawn Staley, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, WNBA standout and 2013 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Coach Boyer came from Temple to begin a remake of the USC program on May of 2008. This season they headed a staff which led the Gamecocks to their second straight 25-win season and the first number one NCAA Tournament seeding in their program’s history.

Eighth ranked South Carolina is seeded first in the Stanford Regional in Seattle Wash. and advanced to the second round with a victory over the University of California at Northridge on Sunday. The Gamecocks will play Middle Tennessee or Oregon State on Tuesday.

Lisa Boyer and Dawn Staley teamed up to elevate the South Carolina program to national prominence after leading Temple to five NCAA Tournaments and three Atlantic 10 Tournament titles in six years including an historic 16-0 conference mark and 25-game winning streak in 2005.

Staley, the SEC Coach of the Year and finalist for the Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, credits Boyer as a major key in her smooth transition from greatness on the court to immense success in coaching ranks.

“Having Lisa on our my staff says a lot of because she could be a head coach in her own right. I strive for perfection. If you don’t have the knowledge to accomplish perfection, then you get somebody who has that knowledge to pass on to you,” states Staley in her profile on the USC Women’s Basketball website.”

“When I started in coaching, Lisa was that person for me. I wore her down because I knew I needed her. I trust her with my life, and I knew I could trust her with my career, not just as a coach, but as an administrator, a manager and overall as a person.”

An NCAA Final Four appearance would further embellish Lisa Boyer’s already Hall of Fame caliber career. She served as the Head Coach Bradley University from 1986-1996 and also enjoyed success at the professional level.

For two seasons she guided the Richmond/Philadelphia Range in 1996-1997 where she coached Staley, served as an assistant coach for in the WNBA Cleveland Rockers and made history as the first female assistant coach in the NBA when she served on John Lucas’ staff with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As she has done throughout three decades of coaching Lisa Boyer credits her players for her success.

“It is a tribute to the players who have bought into the process and entrusted with us with their careers. We continue to strive toward a championship, growing as people and family along the way,” she said in her profile on the USC Women’s Basketball website.

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