In a room filled to the brim with the finest players, coaches, and officials the state of Wisconsin had to offer in the game of basketball, it was only fitting that Jeff Boos was seated at table #1 at the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) class of 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, August 1st. The speaker for the event described Boos as the “best high school basketball coach in the state of Wisconsin.” Boos can now add “Hall of Fame head coach” to his list of accolades as he accepted the honor at Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.
“It’s special, but there’s a lot that goes into it,” Boos said. “I’ve been fortunate to have some really good players and kids that have been committed and dedicated. Good families. You know, I’ve hung in there a long time. So, it’s just been a great experience. I’ve been blessed. It’s been a great ride. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Boos didn’t pull up to the special occasion alone. He was surrounded by friends and family, enough so to necessitate reserving table #2 for the overflow. In a high-stress job where winning is an expectation and every move is scrutinized, a proper support system is vital to keeping one’s head afloat.
“They’re really important,” Boos said. “It’s not just family, it’s close friends that support you and what you do, too. It’s everything. In Sun Prairie, you have a lot of that. It’s a very supportive town with sports. They want to do well and they’re very supportive.”
Boos built most of his Hall of Fame resume here in Sun Prairie. Hired in 1994 as head basketball coach and a physical education teacher, Boos got right to work building a winning team and culture. The 1997-98 season produced a respectable 15-7 overall record, but the postseason remained out of reach. Postseason woes would persist for the Cardinals. It took until the 2017-18 season to reach the playoffs, the first time in school history. That appearance set the table for a state title run the following season, which ended in the Cardinals being crowned runners-up.
That special season earned Boos the recognition as 2018-19 Wisconsin Coach of the Year as decided by the Associated Press, WBCA, USA Today and the Wisconsin State Journal. This was far from the first time Boos was recognized for his coaching ability, though. He has been named conference coach of the year 6 times in his Sun Prairie career. More than just a basketball coach, he was recognized for his merits off the court with the Eli Crogan Humanitarian award in 2012 and the Steve L. Randall award for integrity, passion, and professionalism in teaching and coaching in 2018.
Prior to Sun Prairie, Boos had head coaching stops at Seneca, Crivitz, Medford, Winona (Minn.) and Altoona. To this point, Boos has a career coaching record of 435-379. He’s appeared in 16 regional championships, 11 sectionals and 2 sectional championships. He’s won his conference six times.
Perhaps the highlight of his time at Sun Prairie was getting to coach his three children, Michael, Aaron, and Mariah, as they moved through the system. The players in general have served as a a huge part of Boos time and success at Sun Prairie, and he remains grateful for all of them.
“It’s unbelievable how much you learn from them,” Boos said of his players. “How you grow from them. Without players, you don’t get to this level. You have to have players. I’ve been blessed and very fortunate and very honored to be able to coach them and be around them. Hopefully, through their experience of playing for me and playing in the program, we’ve left some things beyond basketball on the table for them to take in their personal life and grow and go from there. That’s always been an important part of it, besides the competition. Growing young men.”
Though he’s retired from teaching, Boos remains head coach for the Cardinals heading into the 2021-22 season. After a shortened 2020-21 campaign that featured just 11 games for Sun Prairie, Boos is itching to get back on the court and add to what has already been deemed a Hall of Fame career.