A key player for the Badgers from 2005-09, Joe Krabbenhoft has been hired to join Gard’s 2016-17 staff as an assistant coach, the head coach announced on Monday.
An assistant coach for the last three seasons at South Dakota State, Krabbenhoft, 29, returns to his alma mater to replace Gary Close, who resigned last week after 13 seasons to pursue other professional opportunities.
“I am absolutely thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to return to Wisconsin,” Krabbenhoft said in a statement. “It really is a dream come true for me and my family. I’ve had conversations with Coach Gard about becoming a coach ever since my playing days. I’ve watched him work as a player, as a staff member and from afar now that he has become a head coach and I’ve always been impressed with him.
“I have so many great memories from Madison and UW and it’s an honor to be a part of the program that I played for and to be a part of something so special. It’s also extremely exciting to be a part of a new chapter under Coach Gard. I think the future is so bright for the Badgers and I can’t wait to get started.”
Prior to his time at South Dakota State, Krabbenhoft served as the video coordinator on Bo Ryan’s staff at Wisconsin during the 2012-13 season.
Krabbenhoft appeared in 136 career games and made 70 starts for the Badgers, leading UW to a record of 100-36 and four NCAA tournament appearances. He earned All-Big Ten Freshman Team honors in 2006 and a place on the All-Big Ten Defensive Team in 2008, when Wisconsin won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. He was also a senior captain in 2009 and was a recipient of the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor Award.
“I’m really excited to welcome Joe back to our staff. In terms of what I was looking for, he fits every criteria,” Gard said. “Having known him since his sophomore year of high school, this is the third time I’ve recruited him – as a player, video coordinator and now assistant coach. He checks all the boxes in terms of knowledge of the program, mind for the game, work ethic that’s second to none, experience as an assistant at South Dakota State and how well connected he is in areas that we want to stay active.
Krabbenhoft finished with 827 points, 756 rebounds and 273 assists as a Badger, making him the only player in Wisconsin history to post at least 750 boards and 250 assists, and just the fifth player in Big Ten history to reach those milestones.
“He coaches how he plays. I’ve never been around a more fierce competitor than Joe and his toughness, personality and the fearlessness with which he played will be a great asset to our players,” Gard said. “I believe there is a strong value in having former Badgers on our staff. He has walked in their shoes, sat in that locker room, studied in those classrooms and won championships. He is a tremendous addition to our program.”
Krabbenhoft played professionally with the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA Summer League (2009-10), the Sioux Falls Skyforce (09-10) in the NBA Development League and three programs in Europe.