Wisconsin head men's basketball coach Bo Ryan is retiring, effective immediately.
This isn't directly Maryland news, obviously, but it's huge news for Big Ten basketball. Ryan had intimated before the season that he'd retire at its conclusion, but he backed off that pledge late in the summer. Now, he's done.
His departure marks the end of an era for one of the Big Ten's best basketball programs in recent times. Ryan moved to 364-130 all-time at Wisconsin with a win against Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Tuesday night, but it's been an utterly disastrous start to the year for the Badgers. They are just 7-5, with losses to Western Illinois and Milwaukee.
Maryland notably beat out Wisconsin last offseason for five-star center Diamond Stone, who's off to a nice start in College Park. Meanwhile, the Badgers have floundered without national player of the year Frank Kaminsky and fellow stars Sam Dekker and Josh Gasser, who keyed a Final Four run last spring.
The Terps play Wisconsin on Jan. 9 in Madison. Badgers assistant Greg Gard will be manning the bench:
Alvarez: "I feel very good about Greg (Gard) taking the job on an interim basis." #ThanksBo— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 16, 2015
Big Ten basketball is going to look a lot different with Ryan gone. He's been in Madison since 2001, and he hasn't finished worse than fourth in the league ever. The Badgers are probably headed to a sub-fourth finish this year, but Ryan won't be around for that to happen.
I don't know Bo Ryan, not at all. I've interacted with him exactly one time. It was after Maryland upset Wisconsin at Xfinity Center last February. Typically, after Maryland home games, the visiting coach speaks first, then Mark Turgeon follows him into the media room and holds his own availability with assembled media. But last February, Turgeon came to the podium first, and he started to talk. Clearly, nobody told Ryan, who marched into the media room, took the microphone from Turgeon and held his own presser, saying his team had a flight to catch.
A little while later, I was walking in the bowels of the arena, near the loading dock where the Badgers' team bus was waiting. Ryan turned to a group of people and said something like: "Bet you've never seen that before."
He wasn't kidding.