Well, things have sure been interesting at Wisconsin so far this season. During the offseason Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan announced his plans to retire after the 2015-16 season. The news wasn't a huge surprise considering Ryan is one of the older coaches in the conference, but it was still something Wisconsin fans weren't exactly thrilled about. Then shortly after, though, Ryan backtracked from his initial comments and implied he might stick around past the 2015-16 season.
It now appears that Ryan won't even finish the 2015-16 season.
JUST IN: Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has announced his retirement, effective immediately. pic.twitter.com/19c53eoEUn— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) December 16, 2015
To clear up any confusion: Bo Ryan's retirement takes effect immediately, per Wisconsin. Assistant Greg Gard is the interim coach.— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) December 16, 2015
Following up tonight's victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi, the legendary Wisconsin head coach announced that he would retire, effective immediate. It was also announced that his longtime assistant Greg Gard would be named the interim coach for the duration of the season.
If you recall from the summer, part of Ryan's hope was that Gard would eventually succeed Ryan when he stepped down following the season. Now with Ryan retiring immediately, Wisconsin will hand the reigns down to Gard for the remainder of the season for what is essentially an extended preview to see if he will become the next head coach in Madison.
Obviously there's going to be considerably more information and reactions on this in the near future, but the news was definitely on the shocking side tonight.
So many great memories. #Badgers #ThanksBo https://t.co/5n0h6NSp6e— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) December 16, 2015
#Badgers interim head coach Greg Gard: "I would have never dreamed the ride we've had" since joining Bo Ryan's staff 23 years ago #ThanksBo— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 16, 2015
Now of course there is going to be plenty of speculation on the timing of Ryan's decision to announce his retirement. It was no secret that the head coach wanted Gard to take over following his retirement, but there was no guarantee Gard would take over for Ryan in 2016. With Ryan's decision to immediately step down, it paves the way for Gard heading forward, especially if Wisconsin can turn things around throughout the winter. It's been a rough start to the season for the Badgers, so it'll be interesting to see if Ryan's retirement will light a fire for the team or if their struggles will carry on into 2016.
Either way, Bo Ryan has achieved a massive level of success in Madison and the combination of a new coach, a struggling team (this season) and some recent struggles with recruiting put Wisconsin in an interesting position heading into the future. Only time will tell how things pan out, but the reality is no one expected Ryan to announce his retirement on a Tuesday night in the middle of December.