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June 15, 2013

Column: Abatemarco leaves CU better than he found it

BOULDER, Colo. - As the Denver Post's Tom Kensler reported last Thursday, Tom Abatemarco, Colorado men's basketball Director of Player Development, is leaving Boulder to become an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount for head coach Max Good.

Abatemarco's departure is the first staff attrition that Tad Boyle has had to deal with during his time as head coach of the Buffaloes. Boyle had moved Abatemarco to his most recent position before the 2012-2013 season, making room for rising star Rodney Billups on the coaching staff.

Four years ago, there weren't many rising names in the coaching industry that would look at a spot alongside Boyle in Boulder as a vertical career move. Two NCAA Tournament appearances later, as well as a Pac-12 Tournament championship, things have changed thanks to Abatemarco's contributions.

"Coach A" helped find CU stars Andre Roberson and Spencer Dinwiddie, as well as assisted in opening the door to recruiting Xavier Johnson. His connections on the west coast, thanks to his extensive coaching experience in the region, helped Colorado get in the door for many of its prospects.

Coach Billups, Mike Rohn and Jean Prioleau have joined in on recruiting the west and their names can be read in every recruiting update involving the Buffs.

Perhaps though, it isn't just the recruiting prowess that will be missed when it comes to Abatemarco.

Players in the program loved his comedic approach to practice and sometimes-goofy personality. They loved him, because he loved them.

Fans of the program shared that affection thanks to his enthusiasm for social media, namely Twitter. When the Buffs won, there was no doubt that he would take to his keyboard to express his excitement. When the Buffs lost, his brutal honesty was refreshing and, more times than, down right hilarious.

He leaves Boulder a better place than he found it.

Now, Boyle will begin the search for his next Director of Player Development, or Director of Basketball Operations. The attractiveness of such a job has benefitted from both the program's success and Boyle's willingness to promote.

Whether or not the next hire proves to be as valuable as Abatemarco has yet to be determined but one thing is crystal clear: Boyle and company will be just fine.


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