Linfield opponents could not have been happier to see Steve Boyea leave the playing field. By the time he graduated in 1985, the All-America defensive tackle possessed two national championships and had statistically stationed himself as one of the best defensive players to ever suit up for the Wildcats.
A four-year letterwinner, Boyea was a member of both the 1982 and 1984 NAIA championship squads and enjoyed a 38-4-1 win-loss record over his career, including two undefeated seasons.
As a sophomore in 1982, Boyea played in all of Linfield’s nine regular season wins and three playoff victories, including the national championship contest against William Jewell (Mo.). Over the course of the year, he harassed opposing playmakers for a team-high 12 quarterback hurries. His 51 total tackles ranked ninth on the club.
The Wildcats missed out on a chance to defend their national title in 1983, finishing with a 6-2-1 record. Individually, Boyea racked up 66 total tackles and registered team-highs in tackles for loss (13) and sacks (8) for a defensive unit that held opponents to just 12 points per game.
Boyea was chosen as Linfield’s Best Defender and received all-conference, NAIA District 2 and all-Northwest College Division first team honors. He was also selected to the NAIA All-America team as an honorable mention.
He was even better as a senior in 1984, totaling 69 tackles, 14 sacks and 33 quarterback hurries to lead Linfield to its second NAIA crown in three years. Boyea had a monster game against St. Ambrose (Iowa) in the national quarterfinal game, totaling six tackles, a quarterback sack and a fumble recovery as the Wildcats blanked the Bees 26-0.
Although seemingly impossible, Boyea received even more accolades for his play during the 1984 season than he had the previous year. At the program level, the defensive captain was honored as Linfield’s most valuable player and best defensive player. In addition, he was named to the Northwest Conference first team, all-Northwest Small College Division first team, NAIA Division 2 All-America first team, Kodak Division II All-America first team and Associated Press All-College third team.
A chemistry and pre-medicine major, Boyea was also honored as a NAIA District 2 scholar-athlete, and was one of four national finalists for a post-graduate scholarship.
Today, Boyea still ranks in the top five for 10 different defensive statistics. He remains Linfield’s all-time leader in quarterback hurries with 45, eight more than any other player.
Upon graduating from Linfield, Boyea pursued a medical degree from Oregon Health Sciences University. He then spent 12 years in the military, capping off his career with a two-year stint as Chief of Hand Surgery Service at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas.
Once he completed his military service, Boyea relocated to Lewiston, Idaho, where he has practiced orthopedics for the past decade. He and his college sweetheart, Dawn (Doran) ‘84, have two young sons, Aaron (10) and Justin (6).