Athlete then coach: Boschee set to enter N.D. sports hall
Jeff Boschee, a former student-athlete at Valley City High School, will be inducted into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame this Saturday.
Coming home is going to be extra special for Jeff Boschee this weekend.
"Being raised in North Dakota is something really special to me," Boschee said. "I feel blessed to be selected and chosen to be a part of the (sports) Hall of Fame there."
Boschee, a seven-year head coach for the Missouri Southern State University men's basketball team and former Kansas Jayhawk, will be one of the four former North Dakota athletes enshrined into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame this Saturday. The ceremony will be held at the Jamestown Civic Center beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Prior to his time with the Lions down in Joplin, Missouri, Boschee prepped at Valley City High School where he was a Parade All-American and participated in the prestigious McDonald's All-American Game. The Hi-Liner standout was named to the USA Today Super 25 list of high school players his senior year in 1998 and was handed the Mr. Basketball Award from the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association the same year.
Boschee was one of three members of the Hi-Liners' Class of 1998 to be enshrined in the VCHS Hall of Fame in 2014. Boschee still holds six Hi-Liner basketball records. The former Mr. Basketball scored 1,994 career points for the Hi-Linders -- averaging 17.2 per game. The Valley City alum also topped the 3-pointer (265) and assist (422) leaderboards.
His physical game also recorded the most steals (262) and turnovers (244) in program history. Boschee was also listed among the top-five VC athletes for free throws made (243) for an 82.4% free throw percentage.
The thought of playing ball in college didn't occur to Boschee early on, but as the years rolled by what seemed initially like a pipe dream became a reality.
"Growing up, it was my brother," Boschee said of who he credits with his athletic prowess. "He taught me pretty much everything I knew until I got to college. He's the one who kind of inspired me to be a college basketball player."
Kansas University was thankful for Boschee's brother's input.
Boschee was coined Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 1999-2000 and was a third-team All-Big 12 pick his senior season. He helped lead the Jayhawks to a Final Four appearance in 2002 and previously held the conference record for three-pointers made in a career with 338.
Boschee still holds the Kansas record for 3s made in a career and is second all-time in games started. After graduating from KU, Boschee played professionally in the United States Basketball League (USBL), American Basketball Association and traveled abroad to play in Europe.
"When I was playing at Kansas, I think it inspired a lot of kids that if you are good enough coaches are going to find you," Boschee said. "I think North Dakota is starting to be put on the map a little bit as far as raising some pretty good basketball players."
Raising and developing good basketball players has been Boschee's focus for the past 11 years.
The Valley City and Jayhawk alum was named the head coach of the Lions on July 1, 2014. As a head coach, Boschee is 137-71 in six seasons. Boschee is the fastest coach to reach 100 wins in MSSU history.
In his first season as the head coach, Boschee led the team to a 20-11 record and the second straight trip to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Tournament Finale. Since Boschee arrived at Southern, the Lions have gone 187-87, made nine consecutive MIAA tournaments, and had trips to five of the last nine NCAA Division II postseason tournaments.
MSSU claimed the 2010-11 MIAA regular-season championship, and the 2013-14 post-season tournament championship. The 2010-11 team set the MIAA record for conference wins in a season with 19.
The 2019-20 season saw the Lions reach the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight year and became the only program in Southern history to accomplish that feat. The team also won 20 games for the third straight year, finishing with a record of 23-8 before the season was cut short prematurely due to COVID-19. The Lions were ranked in the NABC National Poll from start to finish throughout the season.
The Lions started out the 2020-21 season hot, rifling three wins right off the bat. An unfortunate 2-6 losing streak hit the Lions in late November and the team finished out the year at 13-10 overall.
While it wasn't the season the Lions would have hoped for, Boschee's basketball success runs too deep to not rebound -- that's why he's being honored in the first place.
"It's a blessing, it's an honor and I am excited to be a part of it," Boschee said of being inducted. "I know there are some really well-qualified basketball legends in the Hall of Fame so I just feel fortunate to be a part of it."
Boschee will receive the Cliff Cushman Award and be enshrined Saturday along with Doug Beaudoin, Whitney Carlson Bruins and Mike Peluso.
Along with the awards program, the induction ceremony will include a banquet and auction. Tickets are $35.