It was announced yesterday that Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. Ryan will enter the hall alongside legendary Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, both of which will be inducted as part of the 65th anniversary class. Wisconsin's hall has recognized notable and legendary athletes and coaches representing Wisconsin based teams over the years. Besides Ryan and Driver, the hall has inducted everyone from Vince Lombardi and Barry Alvarez to Hank Arron and Bud Selig.
The duo will be inducted next spring at a special event taking place at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The addition of Ryan and Driver is a part of the revival of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame after a hiatus that started back in 2009. It will be interesting, though, to see if Ryan enters the hall as the current head coach of the Badgers or if he is actually retired by then.
The Badger coach had the following to say on his induction:
"I’ve been living and coaching in the state of Wisconsin for nearly 40 years and I’m proud to call this home...I’ve followed all of our state’s teams very closely over the years and come to admire the passion and success we’ve all shared. With the names and accomplishments of the people in the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, it’s truly an honor to be associated with the legends or our state who have been so impactful in sports."
Brian Lammi, the executive director of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, also commented on the 2016 class. "Bo and Donald are the embodiment of what Wisconsin athletics are all about...We couldn’t ask for a better way to re-launch the Hall of Fame and we hope Wisconsinites will come and show their support for these two men who have given so much to sports in our state."
Bo Ryan got his career started at Wisconsin back in 1976 when he became an assistant under Bill Cofield and, later on, Steve Yoder. He would eventually go on to coach Wisconsin-Platteville, where Ryan would post a 352-76 record and win four national championships. He eventually ended up at the D-1 level when he spent two seasons with Milwaukee of the Horizon League before taking over in Madison in 2001.
Since Ryan's arrival to Wisconsin, he has led the Badgers to the NCAA Tournament in every single season throughout his 14 seasons. Even more impressive, though, is the fact that Ryan has never finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten throughout his entire tenure. His career success includes four NCAA D-3 National Championships, three Big Ten Tournament Championships, four Big Ten Regular Season Championships, two NCAA Regional Championships and four Big Ten Coach of the Year awards (including one for last season).
Now it'll be curious to see if Ryan actually follows through with his initial plan of retiring after the 2015-16 season and having assistant Greg Gard take over as the team's new head coach. While he's backtracked publicly since his initial announcement, it could be cold feet and this still could be Ryan's last year. The Badgers are most likely going to take a step back this season, especially with the loss of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, but it's hard to argue with the impressive career Ryan has had with the program.