Bo Ryan, the winningest coach in Wisconsin basketball history, announced his retirement late Tuesday after a 64-49 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Ryan’s retirement is effectively immediately.
“I’ll see you down the road,” Ryan said at the conclusion of a press conference.
Assistant Greg Gard has been named Wisconsin’s interim coach.
Ryan finishes his career with 747 victories and 223 losses. The 67-year-old Hall of Fame nominee never missed the NCAA Tournament in 14 seasons as Wisconsin’s head coach. He never finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten standings.
Ryan made the Final Four each of the past two seasons.
“Thanks for everything over the years, Coach Ryan,” tweeted Wisconsin great Devin Harris, the fifth overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft. “Enjoy retirement. You deserve it.”
BREAKING: Bo Ryan makes it official, announces retirement as @BadgerMBB head coach. Here is the entire announcement. https://t.co/iHSbotWgHY
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 16, 2015
The timing of this announcement is undeniably curious.
Ryan initially implied, if not said, he’d retire after the 2015-16 season and that he wanted Gard to succeed him. But sources told CBS Sports that Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez would never guarantee Gard that opportunity, which led to Ryan publicly stating he no longer knew when he’d retire. Alvarez and Ryan were never again on the so-called same page.
That’s what makes this announcement interesting.
Ryan’s timing forced Alvarez to let Gard coach the Badgers through a Big Ten schedule. And though Alvarez declined Tuesday to commit to Gard longterm, it’s clear Gard will at least have an opportunity to prove himself worthy of becoming Wisconsin’s coach.
UConn’s Jim Calhoun pulled a similar move when he abruptly retired in September 2012.
Kevin Ollie was forced into an interim position.
Ollie subsequently won a national title.
He’s still coaching the Huskies.