Bo Ryan

Associated Press

Coach K comments on Bo Ryan’s sudden decision to retire


Duke and Wisconsin battled for the national championship last season and it was apparent how much respect there was between Mike Krzyzewski and Bo Ryan.

While Ryan started to mention thoughts on retirement this summer, it still caught many in the college basketball world by surprise, including Coach K.

[RELATED: Did Bo Ryan quit on his team?]

Krzyzewski commented on Ryan’s retirement during his show, “Basketball and Beyond” on SiriusXM. You can read text of what he said below.

“It’s a surprise when it happened.  It’s not a surprise that it did happen because Bo had said that this would be his last year and then was kind of going back and forth well maybe it wouldn’t be.  But once you say it is going to be your last year, man, that means you’ve been thinking about it for at least a little bit.  From what I understand there are no health issues.  That’s the very first thing I think about when something happens during the year, but he did not say that.  He was very positive and very complimentary about his administration – Barry Alvarez, the athletic director, one of the really esteemed people in college sports, and his president, and the whole University of Wisconsin community, the good people that would understand that the time has come.”

The move also caused Coach K to reflect on Ryan’s career a bit, including the recent back-to-back Wisconsin Final Four teams.

“The time that he spent there he’s really built Wisconsin to be one of the nation’s best programs.  Going to these two straight Final Fours the last two seasons and winning over 70 games in those two years.  Really established Wisconsin, and it had never been established really.  They had some success but Bo was able to give them sustained success.  I want to congratulate him on a great, great career.  He was also a Division III national championship coach.  He’s a lifer and someone who has always given good stuff to the game.  We’re going to miss him.”

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan announces retirement


During the offseason Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan announced that this would be his final season at the helm, only to go back on those comments shortly thereafter.

[RELATED: Bo didn’t quit on Wisconsin]

And after much uncertainty regarding Ryan’s future at Wisconsin, he announced following the team’s win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tuesday night that he will retire effective immediately.

Associate head coach Greg Gard, who has been an assistant on Ryan’s staffs at three different stops since 1993 (Wisconsin-Platteville, Milwaukee and Wisconsin), will be interim head coach until season’s end. This move gives Gard the opportunity to essentially interview for the full-time position on the job, working with a team led by guard Bronson Koenig and forward Nigel Hayes.

[PODCAST: What were Ryan’s motives?]

“After months of conversation with (Wisconsin athletic director) Barry Alvarez and his administrative staff, as well as my wife, Kelly, I have decided that now is the right time to step down from the head coaching position here at Wisconsin,” Ryan said.

“This was a decision months in the making. I brought this up to Barry back in April. He advised me to take some time to think it over and I appreciated that. But in recent weeks, I have come to the conclusion that now is the right time for me to retire and for Greg Gard to have the opportunity to coach the team for the remainder of the season. I discussed this with Barry and I appreciate him giving me the space to make this decision.”

During the press conference both Ryan and Alvarez stated that the end of the semester was viewed as a good time to make the transition, with Tuesday’s game being the Badgers’ last before finals. Wisconsin now has a week before their next game, December 23 against Green Bay, and they’ll open Big Ten play December 29 against a Purdue team that has proven to be one of the nation’s best to this point in the season.

Ryan leaves Madison as the program’s all-time wins leader with 364 victories, and that is just one of his many accomplishments while at the helm.

In 14-plus seasons at Wisconsin, Ryan led the Badgers to two Final Fours, 14 NCAA tournament appearances and seven Big Ten titles. During Ryan’s tenure the Badgers never finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten in any season. Given their early struggles this season, having lost three home games already, and the strength of the Big Ten that streak was viewed to be in jeopardy.

The timing of the move gives Gard the opportunity to run the program in hopes of doing enough to have the interim tag removed. But there’s a lot of work to be done, and not just with regards to this current team. Wisconsin doesn’t have a commitment in the Class of 2016, and recruiting as an interim coach can be tough. The good news here is that the Badgers don’t have a scholarship senior on the roster, with six of their scholarship players being freshmen.

This makes the 2017 class that much more important, with guard Kobe King being their lone commitment at this time. Will it be Gard filling those scholarships, or will it be another coach? A lot of that depends upon the next four months, with Gard having the opportunity to show Alvarez that he’s the man for the job.

NCAA ruling sidelines Wisconsin’s Van Vliet for 2015-16 season

Bo Ryan
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Tuesday evening it was announced by the Wisconsin basketball program that head coach Bo Ryan will have one less front court option to call upon this season.

The school’s appeal of an NCAA ruling that declared 6-foot-11 forward Andy Van Vliet ineligible for the 2015-16 season was denied by an NCAA appeals committee, meaning that the Belgian will not be allowed to play this season. Student-athletes have one year after graduation from high school (or expected graduation date) to enroll in college. According to the release, the fact that Van Vliet played amateur basketball within this window means that he not only loses a season of eligibility but has to sit as well.

Van Vliet didn’t get to play in Wisconsin’s exhibition game against Wisconsin-River Falls as a result of his eligibility situation but he did participate in their annual Red/White Scrimmage, accounting for eight points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Even with this disappointing news, the Badgers won’t lack for bodies in the front court as they look to account for the losses of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker from last season’s front court rotation.

Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown have been their most productive options through two games, with Ethan Happ, Khalil Iverson and Charlie Thomas averaging five rebounds per game apiece. Van Vliet’s presence would have given Wisconsin additional size in the post, especially with the 6-foot-9 Happ being the tallest member of their current rotation.

No. 17 Wisconsin struggles in tight loss to Western Illinois

Bo Ryan
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Even with the major personnel losses incurred after last season’s national title game loss to Duke, the general consensus regarding No. 17 Wisconsin was that head coach Bo Ryan would be able to figure things out. Since Ryan took over in Madison in 2001, the Badgers have finished no worse than fourth in the Big Ten standings in any year. And with guard Bronson Koenig and forward Nigel Hayes back, Friday’s opener against Western Illinois didn’t appear to be all that dangerous.

But looks can be deceiving, as the Leathernecks hung around throughout and ultimately won 69-67 on two Garret Covington free throws with 10.2 seconds remaining. Koenig’s mid-range jumper in the final seconds missed the mark, giving WIU their first win over a Big Ten opponent since 1994.

JC Fuller, who made all four of his three-pointers, led the winners with 20 points with Covington (whose sister is a member of the Wisconsin women’s basketball team) adding 16 and Jabari Sandifer 12.

While Wisconsin’s offensive numbers were certainly a concern, as they shot 35.5 percent from the field and 7-for-21 from three, the Badgers also struggled on the defensive end of the floor. Western Illinois shot 54 percent from the field and 7-for-9 from beyond the arc, scoring 30 points in the paint. Given Wisconsin’s need to find consistent scoring options to supplement the efforts of Koenig and Hayes (17 points apiece), how they perform on the defensive end will be critical as this group develops.

As for the offensive showing, Wisconsin did get 11 points and five rebounds from Vitto Brown and he’s one of the players they’ll need to step up in light of the departures of Sam Dekker, Duje Dukan, Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson and Frank Kaminsky. But of the six players to attempt at least six shots for Wisconsin only one, Koenig (7-for-15) shot close to 50 percent from the field.

The Badgers did manage to post an offensive rebounding percentage close to 50 percent (47.7 to be exact), they only outscored Western Illinois by five points (17-12) in the second chance points category. Khalil Iverson and Charlie Thomas were responsible for ten of Wisconsin’s 21 offensive rebounds, but what the Badgers did (or didn’t do) with those extra possessions proved to be the difference.

Their struggles in making shots prevented the Badgers from cashing in on those second-chance opportunities, and had they been able to do so at a higher rate there’s no talk about a surprising home defeat.

Obviously there’s still plenty of basketball to be played this season, so there’s no need for Badger fans to panic. But if anything was learned Friday night, it’s that this Wisconsin team has a lot to figure out on both ends of the floor as they look to account for the departure of a special group.

VIDEO: Nigel Hayes’ game-winner caps Wisconsin scrimmage

1 Comment

Sunday afternoon Wisconsin held its annual Red vs. White Scrimmage at the Kohl Center, giving fans their first look at a team that will look far different from the one that made two consecutive Final Four appearances (runners-up last season). Frank Kaminsky, Josh Gasser, Sam Dekker and Traevon Jackson have all moved on, leaving juniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes as the leaders for Bo Ryan’s 2015-16 squad.

It would be Hayes who provided the end of game heroics Sunday, as his contested step-back three from the left corner in the final seconds gave the Red team a 47-45 victory over the White. They had a little help down the stretch too, as a dubious technical foul was assessed to make it a one-possession affair ahead of Hayes’ game-winner.

Zak Showalter led the winning team with 11 points and two assists, with freshman Andy Van Vliet chipping in with eight points, nine rebounds and four blocks in his Kohl Center debut. Koenig paced the White team with a game-high 14 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists, and redshirt freshman Ethan Happ chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds.

Wisconsin, which has finished no worse than tied for fourth in the Big Ten since Ryan took over as head coach, opens its regular season November 13 against Western Illinois. Above are highlights from the scrimmage, along with Ryan’s explanation of the technical foul, courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics.

Wisconsin regroups, welcomes newcomers after 2 Final Fours

Nigel Hayes
Associated Press
Leave a comment

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan groaned when he thought back to passing drills on the first day of preseason practice.

So many new faces, so many mistakes.

“I was afraid someone was going to get hurt,” Ryan said at the team’s media day Thursday. “There were five or six guys out there that hadn’t been in the drills that hadn’t seen them.”

There is quite a different dynamic from last season’s veteran, fun-loving squad.

The trusted senior backcourt of Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson is gone. Sam Dekker is in the NBA after being drafted in the first round by the Houston Rockets.

And no more Frank Kaminsky, the 7-foot ringleader, anchoring the middle. The Wooden Award winner as the top college player was drafted by Charlotte.

They were the four leaders of teams that went to back-to-back Final Fours, and had a school-record 36 wins last season.

This new group is still getting used to each to other.

“It was weird, man,” said forward Vitto Brown, recounting the first day that the Badgers gathered as a team. The nameplates on the lockers belonging to the storied departing class were empty.

“Now that they’re gone, it was like, `Who’s there?”” Brown recalled.

Well, Ryan, for starters. Given another opportunity to talk about his future after this season, Ryan passed.

“There are no guarantees out there. For me to even take 2 seconds about later just takes away from the job that I can do with these young men,” Ryan said.

He had announced in June that he planned to retire at the end of the season. Two months later, Ryan left open the possibility of staying beyond this season.

Last week at Big Ten media day, Ryan didn’t rule out coaching beyond this season.

On Thursday, his focus was trained on the immediate future.

“I don’t know what else he would do besides coach,” forward Nigel Hayes said.

The junior with the affinity for NCAA tournament stenographers is the leading returning scorer after averaging 12.4 points. Hayes said he has worked on all facets of his game this offseason. Ryan wants Hayes to get to the foul line more and to be more assertive.

“He needs to make sure that what he does is scrutinized even more now because …. all eyes are on him from his teammates,” Ryan said. “His leadership skills will be on display, every drill he does in practice when it comes to his teammates.”

It’s a role that Hayes has already relished, Ryan said. Another junior, lightning-quick point guard Bronson Koenig (8.7 points), is the other returning starter who will be counted on to set the tone for the youthful roster.

Brown and Zak Showalter, two juniors who had moments coming off the bench, are also back. They’ll assume more responsibility this year.

And that’s it from last year’s nine-deep rotation, which means a lot more teachable moments for newcomers. That means some growing pains for Wisconsin at the season’s outset.

The starting lineup isn’t already set, unlike last year’s star-studded group. Beyond Hayes and Koenig, and Brown and Showalter to a lesser extent, there will be jostling for roles on the depth chart.

“I’m not Santa Claus with a bag of minutes over my shoulder, ready to give them out,” Ryan said gruffly. “I don’t give them out – they’re earned.”


AP College Basketball site:

Follow Genaro Armas at