Background: Steve grew up in Charlotte, N.C., with sports as his favorite hobby. He and friend Timmy Smith, collected “every baseball card in the 1960s," Steve said.
“We would have our parents order every box,” he added.
While Timmy went on to play soccer at the University of Rochester, Steve found an athletic path a little more difficult. From his back porch, Steve could hit a tennis ball over the bushes in the backyard - just in front of the barbed wire fence. Timmy could hit it over the fence.
“He was a really good athlete,” Steve said. “I, on the other hand, was not a really good athlete.”.
Steve attended East Mecklenburg High School. He wanted to play basketball, but there was a problem. A big problem. Literally. His best friend was a 6-foot-9 center and was third-string - six players went on to sign Division I basketball offers. Boyd stayed close to the team, though, keeping stats. He watched his school once defeat a South Mecklenburg team that featured Walter Davis and Lew Massey, two players who later became stars for the University of North Carolina basketball team.
While playing sports wasn't an avenue for him, Steve jumped at the chance to coach. He helped coach 11- and 12-year-olds in Little League Baseball when he was 13 and 14. That experience changed his future.
“I went from wanting to be a cowboy and wanting to be a fireman," he said, "to wanting to be a teacher and wanting to be a coach about the time I entered junior high school."
As he finished up high school, Steve set his sights on attending a small private college just outside of Charlotte. His guidance counselor asked him to apply to more than just one college, in case of a potential rejection. Steve thought otherwise, applying only to Davidson.
“Somebody has to be in the bottom half of the SAT scores,” he said, laughing.
While at Davidson, Steve coached four years of YMCA basketball. He majored in history at Davidson, while also doing some student teaching his senior year. After graduating in 1977, he couldn’t find a full-time teaching job around Charlotte. He became a long-term substitute at North Mecklenburg High School for auto mechanics and a long-term substitute for an English teacher at South Mecklenburg. For two months, he also taught language arts and social studies at a Charlotte middle school.
How he found Prep:
After a year of part-time work, Steve thought he was finally going to get a full-time teaching gig at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, Va., but the position never opened. The head of Trinity Episcopal, who previously served as the head of Augusta Preparatory School, called his old school and referred Steve. It was a perfect fit. Augusta Prep needed two history teachers at the time. Steve began in the fall of 1978, earning $8,000 his first year (according to the web site in2013dollars.com
, his first salary would be equivalent to $37,035 in 2023, per inflation). The next year, he received a raise, pushing his salary to $9,350.
When he started, Boyd taught history while also serving as the Key Club sponsor, the Student Council sponsor and coaching the 7th/8th grade boys soccer team and the varsity boys basketball team.
In his early years, Steve thought about returning to Charlotte to teach at a public school. He also contemplated interviewing at The Lovett School after Augusta Prep’s guidance counselor left to go there. He also visited Providence Day School in Charlotte and had some conversations with their administrators. The more he thought about it, though, the more he believed he could make a larger impact at Augusta Prep.
“I felt like I was contributing to something,” he said. “I enjoyed it. I was happy.”
Steve was playing the popular card game, Bridge, with his fellow faculty members on May 6, 1981, when he received a phone call that Prep student and soccer standout Scott Olliff died in a car accident. At the time, Steve was teaching Scott’s sister, Lisa. He visited the Olliff family, lending his support. It was an emotional time that extended his original, self-imposed deadline of staying at Augusta Prep until 1982.
In 1987, Douglas Nesbit became Augusta Prep’s STAR Student and named Steve as his STAR Teacher. Nesbit won the Columbia County STAR Student ceremony, won the region competition and advanced to the state finals in Atlanta.
“I go with him to Atlanta and I’m thinking maybe I’m supposed to be here,” Steve said. He later helped establish the Augusta Prep Honor Code, something he took part in at Davidson.. “It’s just a great place to teach. Augusta Prep is a lot like Davidson. The kids are nice. They work hard. If they don’t work, you call the parents.”
The future: Steve said he wants to teach at least two more years full-time at Augusta Prep, though he has no plans to leave anytime soon.