MADISON - Following the greatest season in over 70 years, Bo Ryan is ready to walk away.
After consecutive runs to the Final Four, including an appearance in the national championship game this past April, Wisconsin’s head coach announced Monday he will step down following the 2015-16 season, which will be his 15th season as the Badgers head coach.
“Back in the spring, in the days after the national championship game, (UW Director of Athletics) Barry Alvarez and I discussed the possibility of me retiring,” Ryan said in a statement released through UW. “I’ve always been told that is not a decision to make right after a season is completed. Barry thankfully encouraged me to take some time to think about it and I have done that. I considered retiring this summer or coaching one more season.
“I’ve decided to coach one more season with the hope that my longtime assistant Greg Gard eventually becomes the head coach at Wisconsin. I am looking forward to another year with our program, including our players, my terrific assistant coaches, our office staff and everyone who supports Wisconsin basketball here in Madison, around the state and across the country.”
Gard has been Ryan's assistant since 1993, having coached with him at Platteville and Milwaukee before joining Ryan's first staff at Wisconsin. He was elevated to associated head coach in July of 2008.
Ryan, who turns 68 in December, enters his final season with a stellar coaching resume. Winner of four national championships at UW-Platteville in the 1990s, Ryan turned Wisconsin basketball into a giant, making the top four of the Big Ten in all 14 of his seasons and leading the Badgers to the NCAA tournament every year.With a Big Ten record of 172-68 (.717), Ryan owns the best winning percentage in Big Ten history and his 172 Big Ten wins ranked ninth in conference annals. Last season he set the UW record for conference wins when he passed Hall of Famer Walter Meanwell (158 wins from 1912- 17, ’21-34), breaking a record that had stood for 80 years. He won four regular season titles and three tournament titles as UW’s coach, not to mention named conference coach of the year four times. In 31 years, Ryan’s record is 740-228 (.764) and 357-125 (.740) at Wisconsin, 92 more than any other UW coach. Before Ryan came to Wisconsin in 2001, Wisconsin was 1,172-1,035 (.531) all time and 607-757 (.445) in the Big Ten. Known for his emphasis on fundamentals, defense and limiting turnovers, Ryan will leave a year removed from guiding the Badgers to the best back-to-back years in school history. A year after leading the Badgers to their first Final Four in 14 years (the first in his storied career) and one-point losers in the national semifinals, Ryan helped the Badgers win the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships, return to the Final Four and knock off previous undefeated Kentucky to advance to the national finals for the first time since 1941. The 36 wins set a new program record for a single season. Wisconsin made seven appearances in the first 63 years of the NCAA tournament. Since Ryan took over as head coach, the Badgers have earned 14 consecutive tournament bids and advanced to the Sweet 16 seven times. UW has won 25 NCAA tournament games under Ryan, surpassing the Badgers’ total of 9 in the 63 years prior to Ryan.