My roommate picked up a college basketball preview magazine the year the Badgers hired Bo Ryan. Like most years Ryan coached, the Badgers were picked to finish in the middle or bottom of the Big 10. While I don’t remember the quote verbatim, I recall the spirit of it. When asked how he planned to compete in a tough Big 10 conference that year, Ryan said he had an order of smoke and mirrors that were being delivered to the Kohl center the next day. Ryan and the Badgers would win the Big 10 that year, and never finish below fourth in the conference during his 14-year tenor.
Ryan had his detractors during his career, but I was not one of them. A fan since his days at Platteville, I was excited when he coached my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. From there he became the coach of the Badgers. His record is astonishing, considering he didn’t attract many McDonald’s All Americans to Madison. He had a system that worked, and recruited players that fit and thrived.
To say I was disappointed when Ryan said he would step down after the 2015-16 season is an understatement. Personally, I thought he would coach for another 3-5 years. Still, all good things must come to an end, and his time at Wisconsin is no exception. Best of luck to Bo in whatever he does next.