Passing of the torch: Bo Ryan to Greg Gard - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Passing of the torch: Bo Ryan to Greg Gard

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (WKOW) -- Bo Ryan was a legend before he arrived in Madison.
Before spending 14 seasons with the Badgers, he rose to prominence with the Pioneers. 
There, he hired a young coach by the name of Greg Gard. 

Things have changed since Bo left 15 years ago, but the tradition and standards he left remain with Jeff Gard. Hired in 2009, Gard, a UWP alum, began to coach from the newly dedicated Bo Ryan Court.

After the Badgers win on Tuesday night, Gard heard the news from his assistant on his way back from a recruiting trip.

 "It was mixed emotions. you know, emotions for excitement, some sadness. Just knowing the individual that used to walk that sideline...he's always going to have a legacy here," Gard said when speaking to media Wednesday afternoon. 

At UWP, Ryan led the Pioneers to four national titles. For three of those, assistant Greg Gard was right by his side. Two programs later and two decades later, Gard remained.  Now his loyalty is being repaid, as it will be Gard who will be the one to fill Bo's big shoes. And younger brother Jeff has the utmost faith in his big brother. 

"He'll have them ready to go. and I guarantee those guys are gonna be playing hard for them as well."

As for if and how the program will change under Gard's leadership, Jeff says he expects to see a lot of similarities. 

"It's the same message, just a different voice," Jeff said, "He's not going to deviate off of their plan. You're not going to see Greg on the 23rd, come out in a 2/3 zone. I can guarantee if you see that, Bo is going to come running out of the tunnel, screaming like, "what are you doing?". The road map has been laid out for 23 years with Greg, and if you wanna win this is the way you're gonna do it. This is the way you do it."

But even with his lengthy coaching career, many wonder how will he fare with no prior head coaching experience.

"I think you can throw that right out the window," Jeff said when asked about doubters,"23 years being prepared for this test. Now, he's ready and he'll ace it."

That first test comes next Wednesday, when UW plays in-state rival Green Bay at the Kohl Center at 8 pm. 

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