Former Maryland head men's basketball coach Gary Williams and retiring Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan have a good bit in common. Williams coached Maryland for 22 years, while Ryan has now been coaching the Badgers for 15. Both men coached their teams to Final Fours and became fan base heroes over a combined 37 seasons at their schools.
Ryan announced his retirement after Wisconsin beat Texas A&M – Corpus Christi on Tuesday night.
"I was surprised like everybody else," Williams said. "I knew he was thinking about leaving coaching. He's [turning] 68, I was 67 when I stopped. There comes a point where it's really hard. It gets harder as you get older, and Bo put a lot into it."
Williams pointed out an interesting parallel between Ryan's retirement and another one at Wisconsin. In 2000, Williams's Terps visited Wisconsin for a game at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. The Badgers' head coach then was Dick Bennett, the father of current Virginia head coach Tony.
And after Wisconsin beat Maryland on Nov. 29, Dick Bennett – who'd been coaching for 16 seasons, almost the same amount of time as Ryan now – announced his own retirement. (Bennett would later get back into coaching.)
"And he resigned right after our game, the same way that Bo resigned last night," Williams said. "Just about the same time of the year."
Ryan took over the Badgers the next season and has been at the helm ever since.