MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan retired after one last victory with the Badgers on Tuesday night, ending a successful run at the school and handing the program over to assistant Greg Gard.
Ryan, who turns 68 on Sunday, said in June this would be his last season, and then left the door open for a return at a charity golf event in August. But with the Badgers off to a slow start this year, he said he decided now was the time to step away.
Ryan said the decision was "months in the making," and he had several talks with athletic director Barry Alvarez.
"I brought this up to Barry back in April. He advised me to take some time to think it over, and I appreciated that," Ryan said in a school release sent out after a 64-49 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
"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."
Ryan coached Wisconsin to a school-record 36 victories last season and a loss in the national championship to Duke. The Badgers handed Kentucky its first loss of the season with a victory in the national semifinals.
This season's Badgers improved to 7-5 with Tuesday's victory. They lost only four times all of last season.
Alvarez said he will evaluate how Gard works with the team and then make a decision at the end of the year on what the school wants to do.
"I've never had more than a one-year contract in my entire career, so for me it's never been about the pressure in that way," said Gard, who recently turned 45. "For me, it's about putting these young men in the best position to have success as student athletes."
Ryan was in his 15th season at the school. He finishes with a school-record 364 victories and seven Big Ten titles. The Badgers appeared in the NCAA tournament each of his 14 seasons, including Final Four appearances each of the past two years.