PHOENIX – The plan was for Greg Gard to spend another day relaxing in the Valley of the Sun before heading back to Madison to start sketching out his plans for the 2017-18 season. Odds are he’s going to become a very popular man with all the coaches in town for the National Association of Basketball Coaches conference.
With news of Lamont Paris’ departure to Chattanooga to become the Mocs new head coach Sunday, Gard will have to hire an assistant for the second time in his first two full seasons as Wisconsin’s head coach.
If he follows a similar path as his last hire, Gard has plenty of names in the Wisconsin coaching tree he could look at.
Bronson just finished his first season as a program assistant at UNLV after spending the previous five seasons at St. Louis. Bronson served one year as Rick Majerus' senior graduate manager in 2011-12 before being promoted to assistant coach in July 2012. During his time at SLU, the Billikens qualified for the N.C.A.A. tournament in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and three A-10 championships. A 2008 graduate of Wisconsin, Bronson started as a team manager and earned a roster spot in 2004-05.
Chambliss played and worked for Wisconsin with Gard on staff, first playing the 2004-05 season after transferring from Penn State and then working for Wisconsin at the team’s video coordinator. He spent four seasons at Milwaukee as an assistant coach and spent last season as an assistant coach on Scott’s Nagy’s staff at Wright State after Jeter was fired.
After being fired from Milwaukee last season, Jeter landed an assistant coaching position at UNLV. Working with Gard at Wisconsin from 2001-05, at Milwaukee from 1999-2001 and at UW-Platteville from 1994-98, Jeter’s familiarity with Gard is a bonus for a smooth transition. There also shouldn’t be a concern of Jeter being a former head coach, going 185-170 in 11 years at Milwaukee, as Gard hired Howard Moore (former Wisconsin assistant and UIC head coach) after he was promoted following Bo Ryan departure and has kept him on staff. Considering the youthful make-up of next year's roster, a coach with that experience would be welcomed.
Second-year Holy Cross assistant coach Freddie Owens has 10 years of college coaching experience and has been a part of four N.C.A.A. tournament teams as a coach (three at Montana, 20116 at Holy Cross). He was a part of three Big Ten championships and was highly influenced by Gard during his playing tenure at Wisconsin.
After not being retained after Wyking Jones was promoted to the head coaching job at California, Webster is someone to keep an eye on. Webster worked as an assistant coach at Kentucky, Illinois, Purdue, Ball State, DePaul, Nebraska and Tennessee in addition to Cal. He was the interim head coach at DePaul for three months in 2010 and was a three time All-Big Ten selection at Wisconsin. The former team captain helped the Badgers qualify for the 1994 N.C.A.A. tournament (their first tournament appearance since 1947).