Boyd, the only coach in Georgia to lead teams from four high schools to state championships, replaces Jon-Michael Nickerson, who guided the Excel high school men’s team the past two years and is now headed to the University of Memphis.
The hiring was announced Monday by Wesley Roach, school principal, and Chad Parker, Excel athletic director.
Boyd is a former National Coach of the Year. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has twice named him the State Coach of the Year. The Atlanta Tip-Off club has named him as its Coach of the Year six times.
Boyd most recently coached at Milton High, where he won two of his state championships. He was relieved from his coaching position there last year after allegations from the school administration of unduly influencing transfer students.
However, Roach noted, the Georgia High School Association found all players who transferred to Milton had made bonafide moves under their rules and none were initially contacted by Boyd.
Of Boyd’s departure from Milton, Roach said, “Boyd apparently communicated more with student transfers than what the administration at Milton was comfortable with. However, at Excel, we have well-defined criteria to determine if a student may be admitted.”
He cited the ABC’s of Excel’s admission criteria.
“Academics, behavior and Christian atmosphere frame up the admissions criteria for Excel. To be admitted at Excel, a student must be prepared to apply himself in an academically rigorous environment, he must demonstrate respect and good manners, and most importantly, he must embrace the Christian atmosphere that we cultivate at the school.
“We are glad to have a coach that relates well with students and that families are proud to have their sons play for. We are committed to our mission, which is excellence in education in a Christ-centered atmosphere.”
Officials noted Boyd was instrumental in helping his players earn college scholarships to schools such as Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Furman and Life University.
“I am very proud of the players I have had the honor to coach through the years,” Boyd stated. “I am proud of how many of the young men who have played on my teams qualified academically to play for Division 1 colleges. It is very important to me that my players perform not only on the court, but also in the classroom.”
The new Excel coach is ready to hit the ground running. He is meeting with players and families this week and will be setting up summer practice schedules.
“Coach Nickerson has done an outstanding job at Excel,” Boyd said. “I look forward to building on the momentum that he has created with this program.” Boyd plans to take the team to a couple of camps this summer where they will get some playing time. He says he would also like to plan activities at Excel during the summer for younger athletes. “I have run basketball camps for all ages, male and female, and I really look forward to the opportunity to get to know the families at Excel and to work with their kids.”
Boyd takes over a team that had its best season ever with an appearance in the GHSA’s Elite Eight and a season record of 26-3.
He said his new team will miss its talented crop of seniors.
“I realize Excel is graduating some very talented players this year. But, I am excited about the younger athletes that are going to be returning next year,” commented Boyd. “We will have to work hard, but hard work has always been a key ingredient for the successes of my basketball teams.”
“Coach Boyd is a highly successful coach who will be able to continue to build on the successes of his predecessor,” Roach said. “But what I’m most excited about is how Coach Boyd is going to help support not only the athletic development of students, but more importantly, their spiritual and academic development.”
According to Parker, “We believe what Boyd will bring to our basketball program and to his classroom at Excel will be a tremendous blessing for our students.”
Nickerson praised Boyd’s coaching selection. “I believe Excel has selected a great coach in coach Boyd. He is very smart and has demonstrated through his career that he knows how to work hard and how to help student athletes succeed,” said Nickerson. “I think with coach Boyd leading the program, the future for Excel men’s basketball is very bright.”
Boyd holds both bachelors and masters degrees from Georgia State University in secondary English education and education administration.
When not teaching or coaching, Boyd spends time with his own children and three granddaughters. He attends Johns Creek Baptist Church in Alpharetta. Boyd says he looks forward to being at Excel where he can share his faith in Christ. “I have spent a lot of time praying for guidance in the past few months and I am excited about the door that has opened for me at Excel. I like the size of the school, I like that they place an emphasis on strong academics and on a Christian atmosphere. I believe Excel is going to be a wonderful place for me to serve.”
As a teacher, Boyd said, he believes in high expectations for students.
“I believe that teachers should serve as role models for others to follow, especially as it concerns our faith in Christ,” Boyd said. “I believe you must have high expectations for your students. They will achieve what you believe they can achieve.”