-- What an incredible run it was in Madison, Wisconsin, for Bo Ryan.
He has been Mr. Wisconsin basketball, putting the program on the map. Ryan said that this was going to be his last season, but clearly he had a change of heart and decided to retire immediately after the Badgers beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He turned over the reigns of the program to longtime assistant Greg Gard.
Bo wanted Gard to be his replacement, and now it has happened. At first, the thought of Gard taking over in the long run was not as well-received. I hope he is successful because he has been so loyal during Ryan's tremendous tenure at Wisconsin, as well as in their earlier stints together.
Think about what was accomplished in the Bo Ryan era in Wisconsin. Four Big Ten regular-season titles, three Big Ten tournament titles, 14 trips to the NCAA tournament, a pair of Final Fours the past two years, and a school-record 364 victories.
The Badgers were always a threat in the Big Ten. He has Hall of Fame credentials, and I loved the way he got the most out of his players. He was the architect of a program that many didn't believe would compete for the Big Ten title consistently.
Ryan used a system which relied on offensive efficiency, good shot selection and solid play on the defensive end.
I hope that athletic director Barry Alvarez gives Gard a chance to be the full-time head coach after the interim period. He deserves this opportunity.
I am glad that we are honoring the brilliant career of Ryan at my Dickie V gala on May 13, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida. Thanks for all of the memories, Bo. He did it in a positive way, teaching, motivating, getting players to perform as a unit. He went out and found kids who fit his program and style of play. Ryan didn't have a group of McDonald's All-Americans. He developed talent.
Ryan will be remembered for leading Wisconsin to a win against an undefeated Kentucky team in last season's national semifinals. The Badgers fell just short against Duke in a memorable final.
Congratulations on a great career, coach!