LE SUEUR — Longtime educator Tony Boyer had a talent for helping people believe in themselves.
Before the Le Center Wildcats took the football field for the 1982 championship game, assistant coach Boyer knew he had to persuade his team that it could beat favored Mahnomen.
Boyer had done his homework, calculating how his team had played against common opponents, and said that they would win by six points.
“Maybe the logic didn’t all hold together if I looked at it today,” said Steve Dwyer of Woodbury, then the middle linebacker and center.
At the time, though, “that made us believers,” he remembered. Le Center won, 12-6.
Boyer, a teacher, principal and 14-year superintendent at Le Center Public Schools, died Tuesday at the age of 68 after five years with kidney cancer.
Born and raised near Worthington, Boyer started his 42-year career in education as a teacher and coach, including in Le Center.
One of his wrestlers, Tim Lloyd of Le Center, remembers Boyer as the epitome of the kind of person who made other people shine.
“More or less, he’d make you feel like you’re better than the other guy, no matter what,” Lloyd said.
Another former wrestler, Joe Block, said Boyer was something of a father figure in that he demanded respect without being mean. The wrestlers wanted to live up to his expectations.
“Just out of the respect you had for him,” said Block, now the head wrestling coach in Prior Lake.
Boyer eventually became a principal, in New Richland and New Prague. He was the sort of administrator who got along well with the students, said Travis Berg, who graduated from New Richland High School in 1992.
“If you were having a bad day, he tried to make it better than how it was going,” he said. “Everybody in the high school got along with him.”