Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to hear the case against Greg Gard. It is a difficult situation, to be sure, and one that does not have a decision that is unequivocally the correct answer.
The accusations leveled against coach Gard regarding the failure to recruit better are indeed serious. But I think the broader question that needs to be asked is why has Wisconsin basketball faired so poorly in recruiting.
Wisconsin plays in one of the toughest conferences in the country. With the exception of the two times in the past few years, they have been a staple in the NCAA tournament. Their facilities and campus are world-class.
Yet, even with this success, the big-time stage for games, and outstanding infrastructure, they have lagged behind their fellow Big Ten brethren in recruiting. Historical trends would indicate that these issues have been here for quite some time.
The failure of this season is very disconcerting. But does a coach, who is one year removed from winning the conference’s Coach of the Year award, suddenly become an inferior coach?
The defense team for coach Gard tried to have us compare the first eight seasons of the venerable Bo Ryan, but this argument fails for a few reasons.
Coach Ryan came to a program that was on the rise, but one that had only been to five NCAA tournaments in the last 53 years, all of those appearances in the 90s.
Coach Greg Gard has been a disciple of Ryan’s since his days at Milwaukee. He inherited a team that had made back-to-back Final Four appearances. Coach Ryan laid the foundation and created the blueprint for a successful program.
So, while each side has valid points and some flaws in their arguments, there is one irrefutable point. The financial remuneration that the university would be forced to pay in the termination of Gard’s contract is steep. They were just forced to pay $11 million when they fired the head football coach, Paul Chryst in the fall of 2022. Taking multiple double-digit hits in the millions might be difficult to explain.
The court has therefore decided that Greg Gard, head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, should retain his position, but with the caveat that the rebound from this year’s disappointments is swift.