PORTSMOUTH – Tyler Boyles has been named the Mid-South Conference Champions of Character recipient for men's basketball. The award, which is voted on by the conference athletic directors is given to one student-athlete who displays academic and athletic achievement, campus and community leadership, future ambition and demonstration of the five core character values of the NAIA.
Having started games in each of his four seasons with the Bears, Boyles finished his SSU career with 1,172 points. This is the ninth-most by a player in program history. He also helped lead a senior-laden team to 16 wins this season – the most by a men's basketball team at Shawnee State since the 2006-07 season. In the process, the Bears advanced to the Mid-South quarterfinals for the first time in program history. He was honored as a member of the AMC All-Freshman team and has been a three-time All-MSC Academic Team selection through his four-year career.
Given the leadership responsibility of being a two-time team captain, serving in that role during both his junior and senior campaigns, perhaps no single moment was more telling of his leadership and devotion to the men's basketball program and his teammates than this past season. With the Bears in the thick of a playoff run, Boyles went down with an injury that would most likely end any other player's season given the time remaining on the schedule. However, he could not give up on his teammates and returned from that injury in just three weeks time and one full week before the start of the Mid-South Tournament. For that commitment to putting the team first, he draws high praise from his coaches.
"Tyler is someone who has earned his teammates' respect through his hard work, unselfishness, and leadership. In terms of being a student-athlete, he is a model for being well-rounded and getting the most of his college experience. Tyler exemplifies what a student-athlete should be. He always represents himself, his teammates, and Shawnee State in a manner we can all be proud of," explained men's basketball head coach and athletic director Jeff Hamilton. "One of the best measures of college athlete is how much they grow as a person over their career. Tyler is someone who epitomizes sacrifice for his team and working hard to make those around him better. He is a very humble leader who will always put his teammates first and never complains about his situation. He enjoys seeing his teammates succeed and would do anything to lend a helping hand."
Off the court, Boyles is actively involved in numerous community service projects and activities. He is an active member of Greenup First Baptist Church near his hometown of Raceland, Kentucky. He also lends his time to helping with the Children's Church and works specially with third and fourth grade children. In the Portsmouth community, Boyles has volunteered his time with the 14th Street Community Center which provides children with a safe atmosphere to grow academically, listen to motivational speakers and enhance their communication skills. The men's basketball team as a whole has followed his example and also hosts the Scioto County Special Olympics at select home games as well as clinics for the children to interact with student-athletes on the team.
"One of the responsibilities you have as a team captain, which I have been for two years now, is to lead by example. On the court I lead by making sure my teammates value and understand the importance of our team core values of toughness, togetherness and hard work. Off the court I display my leadership by fulfilling my responsibilities of going to class and being on time for those classes, working out any problems that arise within our team and being the positive and motivating person that any of my teammates can talk to when needed," said Boyles. "Sportsmanship is a characteristic that I take very seriously. I understand the hard work, dedication and time that student athletes have to devote to their education and sports, so I treat all athletes with the respect and sportsmanship that they deserve. I truly believe that if you devote yourself to anything and work as hard as you can to achieve what you are striving for, then even if you fail, you can't be disappointed in your attempt for success."
Men's basketball has been honored with the Mid-South Conference Champions of Character recipient during each its three years in the conference. Tyler Morgan won the award two seasons ago while Alex Bruns earned this same honor last season. Boyles becomes the third Shawnee State student-athlete to earn this award in 2012-13 academic year as he joins women's basketball's Tristan Rumfield and men's soccer's Jacob Hackworth.