Before the season began, it was announced that the 2015-16 season would indeed be the last time that we would see Bo Ryan behind the bench for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Then, there were rumblings that he would be open to a return to coaching after the season, but nothing was confirmed. Regardless, we all knew that we were going to have to say goodbye to Coach Ryan at some point, but we all thought it would be after the season had come to a close for the Badgers.
We all thought wrong.
On the heels of the Badgers’ double-digit win over the Texas A&M-CC Islanders on Tuesday evening, Bo Ryan made the shocking announcement that he was retiring as the head basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin, effective immediately.
It’s rare to see a coach retire mid-season like this, let alone a coach of Ryan’s calibre and magnitude. But, that is the situation we find ourselves in, saying goodbye to one of the best coaches to ever walk a college basketball sideline.
Bo Ryan says goodbye to the head coaching world, having won an impressive 747 games over his storied career. He never did win that coveted NCAA Championship, although he did lead the Wisconsin Badgers to back-to-back Final Four appearances in the last two seasons, and a national runner-up finish in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
He is the winningest coach in Wisconsin basketball history, and leaves behind a pair of shoes that will be extremely tough to fill. He amassed a record of 364-130 in 14 seasons with the Badgers, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in each of those seasons. He also took home four Big Ten regular season titles, and three Big Ten tournament titles over that time frame.
Coach Ryan is highly respected amongst his coaching colleagues, and his presence on the sideline will surely be missed.
In Coach Ryan’s first season as a head coach, which was at UW-Platteville in 1984-85, he went 9-17 on the year. He didn’t have another losing season after that, and never finished below 4th in the Big Ten standings as the head coach of the Badgers.
The season hasn’t gone as planned for the Badgers so far in 2015-16, as they have had a shaky time adjusting to life without some of their stars. They have taken losses to Western Illinois, Milwaukee, and Marquette on their home floor in non-conference, results that don’t usually happen for the Badgers, let alone inside the Kohl Center.
With the sudden departure of Bo Ryan, the head coaching duties will belong to associate coach Greg Gard, effective immediately. Let the speculation begin as to who the next head coach of the Badgers will be, as there will be plenty of high-profile candidates in the running for the position.
In the end, Bo Ryan went out on his terms. He went out a winner, as the Badgers knocked off the Islanders 64-49, and he went out with a winning record this season (7-5).
Thank you, Bo Ryan, for all of the memories you have given college basketball fans over the years. You are a true class act, and you will be dearly missed on the sideline in the NCAA.