After twenty-nine seasons coaching in college basketball and twelve in charge of the University of Wisconsin Badgers, Bo Ryan has emerged as one of the greatest coaches in the game. Through a combination of longevity and success, Ryan’s name is known throughout the nation and is a sure candidate to enter the basketball Hall of Fame once he decides to retire. Having spent his entire coaching career in the state of Wisconsin, he will, if he hasn’t already, go down as one of the greatest persons in sport in the state.
With a record high 291 wins as coach of the Badgers, his achievements and accolades do not stop there. Ryan’s overall coaching career win percentage trails only John Wooden, Roy Williams, Jerry Tarkanian and Dean Smith for coaches in the 600 win club. He has five Big-Ten titles, five sweet-sixteen and one elite-8 appearances and the eight most winningest seasons in Badgers history. There isn’t a lot Ryan hasn’t done in his time in Madison, and may well be best known for elevating the Badgers as one of the elite teams in the Big-Ten conference.
Ryan’s management of NBA talent is also commendable by sending seven players to the world’s top league, including Brian Batch, Marcus Landry, Jon Leuer, Kirk Penney, Greg Stiemsma, Alando Tucker and most notably Devin Harris. He will look to make that number eight this season by nurturing and moulding his star sophomore Sam Dekker into an NBA-ready talent. After a solid season as a freshman, Dekker has all the tools and attributes to add great value to an NBA team.
Ryan’s personal honours are of considerable significance too. After winning Big-Ten Coach of the Year in both of his first two seasons with the Badgers, Ryan was then recognised on a national scale by being awarded the 2007 Clair Bee National Coach of the Year Award, which honours the men’s Division 1 basketball coach who contributes most to his sport in the preceding year. He also made it as a finalist for the National Coach of the Year Award in 2007-08, which honours the best coach of the year hands down.
With all that said and done, Ryan would likely put a Final-Four appearance at the top of his career achievements. With the Badgers never reaching that stage, his past accolades would be substituted for an appearance at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas next March. With a team full of returners from the 2012-13 season, the Badgers will look for a solid regular season, but more importantly a run of significance come tournament time. As always, Go Badgers!