Ronald Boyce enters his 20th year heading the Missouri State women's track program. Boyce was named the fifth head coach in the program's history in 1997 after spending one year as an assistant.
Boyce's charges once again saw a great deal of success during the 2014-15 campaign, as the Bears racked up nine Missouri Valley Conference medals and qualified seven student-athletes for NCAA regional competition. The MSU sprint team, led by a solid combination of youth and experience, was especially impressive. Oarabile Babolayi, a 2014-15 junior, set the school record in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor conference championships meet with a time of 8.51 seconds. Babolayi was one of the seven Bears track stars to compete at the NCAA Outdoor West Regional in Austin, Texas.
In 2014, Boyce led Missouri State to the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championship en route to his 10th Coach of the Year honor. Boyce led two MSU student-athletes to All-MVC awards during the indoor season, including senior sensation Althia Maximilien in the 400m dash and superstar jumper Robiann Broomfield in the triple jump. Boyce led MSU to an impressive fourth-place slot and five all-conference performers at the outdoor championship. Oarabile Babolayi and Robiann Broomfield dominated for the Bears, taking home the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles and long jump, respectively.
Since joining the Missouri State staff in 1996, Boyce has built the women's team into one of the most respected programs in the Midwest and the premier program in the Missouri Valley Conference, as evidenced by his selection to the MVC's All-Centennial Team in 2007. Boyce's indoor and outdoor track and field teams have claimed nine Missouri Valley Conference Championships and have been Valley runners-up six times since he took the helm.
Directing a balanced program has long been a goal of Boyce's. That goal was realized during the 2002-03 seasons, as Missouri State claimed its first MVC running Triple Crown. On top of Boyce's eight league track and field titles the cross country program has added four of its own. Since the 1997-98 seasons, the Bears track and field and cross country program has won at least one league title during nine of those 15 years.
Boyce has been the mastermind behind a Missouri State women's program that has seen its fair share of individual success as well. MSU track and field athletes have accumulated over 145 individual and relay event championships and have brought home more than 460 All-Conference medals since 1996.
A 10-time MVC Coach of the Year (six indoors, three outdoors, one cross country), Boyce is regarded as one of the top developers of sprint and hurdle athletes in the country. Under his direction, the Missouri State women have dominated the Missouri Valley Conference. While setting every MSU women's sprint and hurdles record during his tenure, Boyce's athletes own nine MVC all-time records and 12 MVC championship records. His sprint and hurdle athletes have also racked up numerous honors, compiling close to 300 All-Missouri Valley Conference medals, 107 MVC individual titles, 65 MVC runner-up finishes times and 47 third-place finishes.
Boyce earned MVC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 1996 by leading the squad to the conference title. In his only season as coach of the women's cross country program, Boyce guided Missouri State to three meet titles and its first MVC cross country championship. Five Bears recorded career-best times and finished among the top 15 in the conference race. Camille Wise earned All-MVC honors with a sixth-place showing.
Boyce has also helped the Missouri State program gain national recognition as the Bears routinely send athletes to the NCAA championships. Prior to Boyce's arrival only three MSU track and field athletes had ever qualified for the NCAA Division I meet. Under Boyce's direction Missouri State women's track and field has compiled 52 NCAA regional qualifying performances on the track while MSU athletes have qualified for the NCAA national championships 38 times.
Missouri State women's track and field athletes have also earned NCAA All-America status 25 times, with 23 of those honors coming during Boyce's tenure. In 1996, Melinda Sallins took fifth at the NCAA meet in the 400-meter hurdles to earn the first All-America honor during the Boyce era. Michelle Baptiste earned a spot on the All-America team in 1997 by taking seventh in the long jump. Boyce's 4x400-meter relay squad of Juliet Pommells, Verneta Lesforis, Mashere Harrison and Augustina Charles ran 3:36.18 to earn All-America honors during the 1999 indoor season. During the 1999 outdoor season Pommells, Lesforis, Charles along with Trudi Garrett, bettered their mark to 3:33.09 to add four more All-America awards to Boyce's list. The 2004 outdoor season saw the Bears first All-American come from the distance side of the team. Casey Owens ran 34:53.00 that season to become an All-American in the 10,000-meter run, an honor she earned again in 2005. The 2005 season also saw the emergence of one of the greatest track and field athletes in school history, Tracy Partain. Partain earned All-America honors in the indoor pentathlon that season with a ninth-place finish at the national meet. Partain left her mark on the MSU record book in 2006, as she challenged for the NCAA title before finishing as the national runner-up in the outdoor heptathlon.
Boyce has also coached six athletes to the Olympic Games including a pair of Missouri State athletes. Baptiste competed at the Olympics in 1996 and Lesforis in 2000. Numerous other MSU athletes have competed for their respective countries internationally through the years, including Owens and Partain, who competed for Team USA in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Other Missouri State athletes coached by Boyce have competed internationally. In 2012, Maximilien represented her home country of Barbados at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Under 23 Championships (NACAC U23). The freshman placed seventh in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.65. Merica Moncherry also competed at the NACAC U23 for Saint Lucia. The freshman posted a sixth-place finish in the 100-meters with a time of 12.01.
A handful of Missouri State track and field members also competed in the Olympic Trials. Maximilien won the 400-meter dash in 53.70, while Moncherry took a victory in the 200-meter dash at the Saint Lucia Nationals with a time of 24.11. Kara-Aretha Graham competed in the England Nationals and placed sixth in the 200-meters, while Grant took sixth in the long jump (6.07 meters) and fifth in the triple jump (12.77 meters) in the trials. Shantel Llewellyn competed in Canada and claimed 16th place in the 100-meter run (11.95) and 18th place in the 200-meter run (24.32).
Verneta Lesforis competed in the 200-meter at the 1997 World Championships. Lesforis, along with Baptiste and Charles, competed for their home country of St. Lucia at the 1999 Central America and Carribean Championships. All three won medals at the event and went on to compete in the Pan American Games that year.
Boyce's athletes have gone on to set every sprint and jump national record for St. Lucia.
A native of Barbados, Boyce graduated from Murray State University in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Before joining the Missouri State staff, Boyce held assistant coaching positions at both Murray State and Tennessee State, coaching four NCAA All-Americans and two 1992 Olympians as a men's track assistant at Murray State from 1989 to 1991. Boyce helped the Racers to indoor and outdoor Ohio Valley Conference titles in 1990 and 1991.
Boyce and his wife, Edith, have one daughter, Nakita, who played softball at Mississippi State University.