Former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan to be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

A life of coaching the game of basketball at nearly every level has landed Bo Ryan in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

The former Wisconsin coach was among 13 players, coaches and contributors that got the news Saturday they would be a part of the 2024 class to be inducted later this year.

After growing up in Chester, Pennsylvania and a college playing career at Wilkes University in the late 1960s, Ryan got his start in coaching at the middle school and high school level. After an eight-year stop in Madison as an assistant coach under John Powless and Bill Cofield in the late 1970s and early 80s, Ryan took over the program at Division III UW-Platteville where he had unprecedented success. He won better than 90% of his games in the 1990s with the Pioneers, leading the school to four national titles.

Ryan would finally get a shot in the Division I level in 1999, taking over at UW-Milwaukee. Despite a 30-27 record, Wisconsin athletic director Pat Richter tabbed the then-54-year-old Ryan to lead his program in Madison. It was one of the best decisions Richter made, as Ryan would coach the Badgers for the next 14 seasons, building on what Stu Jackson and Dick Bennett had done before him in ushering in the golden age of Wisconsin basketball.

Under Ryan, the Badgers won four Big Ten regular season titles, three Big Ten tournament titles and never finished lower than fourth in the conference standings. He was a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and Wisconsin went to the NCAA Tournament every season, advancing to the Sweet 16 seven times and the Elite 8 three times. But Ryan saved the best for his final two seasons with the Badgers, getting to the Final Four in 2014 and 2015. The second appearance came with what many consider the best team in school history. Paced by National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin won a school record 36 games, knocked off a 38-0 Kentucky team in the national semifinals and came up just short of the school’s second national title.

Ryan finished his career with 747 wins and a 76.2% winning percentage. That included going 364-130 with the Badgers, making him the all-time wins leader in school history.

The 76-year-old Ryan will become the second Wisconsin coach to be enshrined in the hall, joining Harold “Bud” Foster.

The rest of the class features Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter, Michael Cooper, Walter Davis, Charles Smith, Seimone Augustus, Dick Barnett, Harley Redin, Michele Timms, Doug Collins, Herb Simon and Jerry West.