Boyce back at QP as boys’ hoops coach

Photo by Jim Hague Christian Boyce has returned to his alma mater Queen of Peace to serve once again as the head boys’ basketball coach. Boyce held the position from 2007 through 2011, including a trip in 2008 to the Bergen County Jamboree semifinals.
Photo by Jim Hague
Christian Boyce has returned to his alma mater Queen of Peace to serve once again as the head boys’ basketball coach. Boyce held the position from 2007 through 2011, including a trip in 2008 to the Bergen County Jamboree

Christian Boyce has pretty much spent his entire life at Queen of Peace, first as a student and standout athlete, then later as a highly respected coach and administrator, before stepping away four years ago to concentrate on his family life and his career in the heating and air conditioning business.

So when Tom Maguire stepped down as the QP head boys’ basketball coach a few months ago, the school’s administration didn’t have to look very far to find Maguire’s replacement – namely Boyce once again.

Queen of Peace Principal John Tonero announced recently that Boyce will return to the Golden Griffins’ sidelines for the 2015-16 campaign beginning this fall.

Boyce was previously the head coach from 2007 through 2011, posting a 58-46 record.

Boyce was the head coach when the Golden Griffins posted undefeated records in BCSL American play for two straight seasons and ran a program that spent most of that time ranked among the very best in New Jersey. In 2008, Boyce led the Golden Griffins to the Bergen County Jamboree semifinals.

Boyce was also an assistant coach from 2002 through 2004 as well as the 2006-07 season, before taking over as head coach.

Boyce first returned as a part-time assistant coach last season under good friend Maguire.

“When I left in 2011, I went back to school to better my career,” Boyce said. “I stayed away from basketball for a while, then I was in constant contact with Tommy to go over things. It was hard for me to stay away, but he had to become his own coach. I got my feet wet last year again and realized how much I missed it and liked it.”

Boyce knows now that his family and work commitments are not the same, thus the reason for the return.

“I have more time,” Boyce said. “My time is much more flexible now. I’m an alumnus of the school. My heart has always been in the right place. I was waiting to see what the situation with the coaching position was. Mr. Tonero brought me in. We talked about it for a while and I agreed to it.”

Boyce knows that a lot has changed at QP in the four years that he’s been away. The school has undergone another administration switch, with Kearny resident Tonero taking over as principal last year.

“Things are a little different and the school’s a little different,” Boyce said. “But the expectations are always the same.”

The Golden Griffins posted a 14-13 record last year in Maguire’s final campaign, but the team returns standout Jeremy Joseph, who averaged almost 19 points and 10 rebounds per game last season and became the latest member of the Griffins’ 1,000-point club.

“Jeremy and I developed a good relationship last year,” Boyce said. “The other kids know me. I’m someone that they can rely on already. I think I have a positive influence on them.”

But the remainder of the Griffins’ roster should be filled with newcomers.

“That’s definitely a big thing,” Boyce said. “I’m going to have basically a new start this time. I’m excited about it. It’s a good thing to have someone like Jeremy here to help me through the time with the newcomers. Now I just need to implement a system and get that going.”

Boyce said that the Griffins will feature some talented freshmen, as well as some transfers who will make a major impact right away.

“I think we’re going to be pretty good,” Boyce said. “We have a good freshman class coming in and a couple of transfers that I’m excited about. I think we’re going to be a little inexperienced, but that’s good. We will all grow together.”

Boyce also believes that the entire program will grow in the fall, as he promises to field teams on all three levels – freshman, junior varsity and varsity – for the first time in several years.

“It’s definitely happening this year,” Boyce said. “I’m definitely happy. It’s a new challenge and a different challenge, but I’m energized by it all. I’m energized by the new principal and the way the school is moving.”

Queen of Peace will have several new coaches this school year, including veteran Jim Kelly as the new football coach, former Kearny grid coach Nick Edwards as the new baseball coach and Jio Fontan as the new girls’ basketball coach.

Fontan has totally revamped the girls’ basketball program, including securing the services of some of the top-rated players in northern New Jersey.

Boyce is also a part-time assistant in the school’s admissions office, so he has his finger on the pulse. Of all the changes that the school has made in the athletic department, Boyce is the one who is certainly home grown – and has come back home once again.

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”