When Tony Floyd was hired by Bristol Eastern in 1979, neither him nor anyone else could have imagined the career he would go on to have. Within four years, Floyd raised his first state championship banner and now 43 seasons later he is still adding to his incredible career.
Last Saturday, the Bristol Eastern Lancers defeated Career Magnet 41-12. The win not only gave the Lancers a boost to the season, but it also placed Floyd in rare company. The win gave Floyd his 600th career win.
Floyd said it’s nice to achieve the 600th career wins milestone, but he said it’s not just about him. The achievement is more about the program, the players and his assistant coaches from over the years.
“I would not have got to this milestone if it wasn’t for the support of my coaching staff, present and past, as well as my players,” Floyd said. “They’re the ones that go out and play and I would have never achieved it if I didn’t have players to go out there and give it their all.”
Floyd’s career has been one that has yielded much success at Bristol Eastern. In 1983, the Lancers defeated Norwalk to win the school’s and Floyd’s first championship. In 1987, the Lancers were nationally ranked within the top-15 and were No. 1 in the state. Bristol Eastern capped the season off with a win over Notre Dame-Fairfield.
In 1990 and 1991, the Lancers beat Southington to win back-to-back state titles. Under Floyd’s tutelage over the last 43-years, Bristol Eastern has made the playoffs every season except for one, Floyd’s rookie year coaching.
Despite all of these accomplishments, including being inducted into the Connecticut’s Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, Floyd said his players have been successful on and off the court which is what he is happier about.
“I enjoy working with kids and seeing them achieve success and grow,” he said. “None of the teams are ever the same so it’s a challenge and I love the challenge. It’s been fun doing it. When it’s no longer a challenge and the kids aren’t having fun I think that’ll be when I have to hang up the whistle.”
Floyd said when he began his career he never thought about achieving this milestone. He said he didn’t see himself staying and coaching high school for this long, but after growing with the team he committed to the group and it has brought him all the way here.
“What makes me happy is the success of the program,” he said. “I’ve had kids that are motivated, worked hard and believed in what my coaching staff was trying to achieve and they just flourished.”
Over the course of Floyd’s career, he has coached some of Connecticut’s best basketball players, Current player and team captain, Taigan Parent, has played for Floyd for the last four years.
She said it was a great experience to be a part of the team that could claim Floyd’s 600th win for him. She said having the chance to play for him has also been great and while sometimes he’s yelling, “he’s secretly a big softy.”
“He loves all of us and the toughness just comes from his passion for the game,” Parent said. “I always tell the players don’t listen to how he says things, listen to what he’s trying to say to you because it may come across like he’s yelling, but he’s really just doing it because he cares about us and wants us to win.”
She said basketball is his life and with his 600th win he views it as “more of a win for us than just a win for him.”
Bristol Eastern boys basketball coach Bunty Ray said he’s happy for Floyd, but what’s impressive is not just his 600th win, but it’s how he gets his players to the next level and keeps his communication with them throughout college and life.
Ray said as a coach it is difficult to get to this milestone.
“Coaching is not easy, especially through the decades that he has done it,” Ray said. “He has had to make a lot of adjustments to the types of kids over the years. It says something about how he has hung around and found a way to win.”
The Lancers are 7-8 as they head into their game with Conard on Tuesday.