MADISON — Bo Ryan, the winningest coach in Wisconsin basketball history, has announced his retirement as the Wisconsin men’s basketball coach.
Associate head coach Greg Gard will assume the title of interim head coach, effectively immediately.
“After months of conversation with Barry Alvarez and his administrative staff, as well as my wife, Kelly, I have decided that now is the right time to step down from the head coaching position here at Wisconsin,” Ryan said.
“This was a decision months in the making. I brought this up to Barry back in April. He advised me to take some time to think it over and I appreciated that. But in recent weeks, I have come to the conclusion that now is the right time for me to retire and for Greg Gard to have the opportunity to coach the team for the remainder of the season. I discussed this with Barry and I appreciate him giving me the space to make this decision.”
“I want to thank Bo Ryan for everything he has done for our athletic department, the state of Wisconsin and certainly the Badgers basketball program,” UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. “He oversaw an incredible run of sustained success and helped elevate Wisconsin among the nation’s elite programs. He is truly a Hall of Fame coach and led our program to the most successful era in school history. He will be missed.”
A 2015 Naismith Hall of Fame finalist, Ryan’s basketball credentials span well beyond his 14-plus seasons at the helm of the Wisconsin program. Ryan elevated Badgers basketball to heights previously unseen in Madison, culminating with back-to-back Final Fours in his final two seasons and the school’s first appearance in the national championship game since 1941.
With 747 career wins, 19 championships and countless conference and national coach of the year accolades, there is little doubt that Ryan is among the great coaches in college basketball history.
In his 14 years atop the Wisconsin program, Ryan authored the most wins in school annals (364) and finished with a mark of 172-68 (.717) in Big Ten play, the highest winning percentage in conference history. With a career record of 747-233 (.762), Ryan finishes his career ranked 27th on the NCAA’s all-time wins list.
Ryan’s tenure as head coach at Wisconsin produced seven Big Ten championships, four Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, the 11 winningest seasons in UW history, 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, seven Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, two Final Fours and the 2015 national championship game. In his final full season, Ryan guided the Badgers to a school-record 36 wins in 2014-15, one shy of the Big Ten single-season record.
Individual success also followed team success during Ryan’s career as six players earned AP All-America recognition -- Kirk Penney (honorable mention in 2003), Devin Harris (second team in 2004), Alando Tucker (first team in 2007), Jon Leuer (honorable mention in 2011), Jordan Taylor (second team in 2011 and honorable mention in 2012) and the 2015 consensus national player of the year Frank Kaminsky (first team in 2015). A total of 10 former Badgers made NBA rosters during the Ryan era, including four first-round draft picks.
Wisconsin also enjoyed tremendous off-court success, routinely posting a cumulative grade-point average between 2.9 and 3.1, including a high of 3.04 in the fall of 2008. On his watch, UW has boasted 48 Academic All-Big Ten honors, a figure that trailed only Purdue and Northwestern in the Big Ten over that span.
In 2013, Ryan was given the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award, presented annually to a college coach who has been significantly engaged in the program's fundraising, education and promotional initiatives.
Since joining Coaches vs. Cancer in 2007, Ryan has been a part of unprecedented fundraising efforts, including raising a record $1.3 million at the 2015 Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Gala. Ryan and his wife, Kelly, have also orchestrated and donated to the Shooting Down Cancer event on campus that has raised a total of $1,078,301.
Prior to his hire as head coach at Wisconsin in 2001, Ryan spent 15 record-setting seasons at UW-Platteville and a pair of successful seasons at UW-Milwaukee. At UW-Platteville, Ryan guided the Division III school to a phenomenal 353-76 (.822) overall record and four national championships (1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999).
A member of five Halls of Fame, Ryan has been enshrined into the Wilkes College Athletic Hall of Fame (2003), the Delaware County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (2008), the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (2011), the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2011) and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame (2012). He is also scheduled to enter the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.