That patience of his sure was tested Saturday, as 40 minutes wasn’t enough to decide the Wisconsin basketball team’s fate.
After an added five minutes of cardio nightmare, Bo finally came to relief, knowing that he had finally taken the Wisconsin Badgers to the Final Four.
Bo’s trip to Arlington all started back in 1984, where he took over as head coach for the Pioneers of UW-Plateville. That year UW-P would hold a measly record of 9-17. Since then, he has yet to coach to a sub .500 team.
In fact, if you look up the name Bo Ryan in the dictionary, you might find the word “winning”. You might also read four divisions III titles, 18 coach of the year awards, five-time Big Ten champion, while boasting over 700 wins.
With all that said, no moment in Bo’s coaching career tops Saturday’s. For those uninformed, Ryan lost his father Butch this past August. In previous years after UW’s tournament elimination, the two would spectate the Final Four together. Butch, being the uber-optimistic father that he was, would always encourage Bo that next year would be his.
On Saturday, once the postgame net-cutting and celebrating slightly subdued, reporter Craig Sager pulled Ryan aside to remind him of the memories shared with Butch.
Ryan stuttered, then paused as his whirlwind of emotions briefly caught him. The forever serious coached had given us all a glimpse to what reaching the Final Four meant to him and his father.
For years, Bo Ryan’s reputation had been college basketball’s best coach to never reach the final four. Every season he’d climb up the ranks of the NCAA’s all-time winners, but come tournament time his Badgers always found a way to shoot themselves in the foot.
Ryan needed this for his legacy. All of the NCAA’s great coaches have reached the tournament’s final region. Names like Krzyzewski and Izzo have all made their names in April. Now Bo too, can proudly put his name with the best of them.
Saturday also seeled Ryan’s spot inside college basketball’s Hall of Fame. His win percentage of .759 through 927 games speaks for itself. Only five other Division I coaches with over 600 wins hold a higher one.
Now that the gorilla-like monkey is off Ryan’s back, Wisconsin seems to be in total sync. The players are fighting for each other as well their coach. They knew the consequences of Saturday’s game and they went out and proved themselves on the court.
Bo’s career-long burden was tarnished on what would of been Butch’s 90th birthday.
Reason’s like this is why we love sports. You just can’t make these things up.