HOW TO COACH YOUR WAY INTO A HEAD COACHING JOB… AND SO MUCH MORE!

Greg Gard started the season as the Associate Head Coach of the Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Team. Even in his wildest dreams, Gard could never have imagined that before the season was over he would not have that title or the one which replaced it. On December 15, the world of Wisconsin Basketball, in general, and Gard, in particular, changed dramatically when longtime Badger Coach Bo Ryan announced his retirement, just 12 games into the 2015-16 season.   Gard was immediately named Interim Head Coach by Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez. No promises or guarantees were given to Gard other than he would finish the current season with the Badgers. As was reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Gard inherited what was described as a “mess” by an observer familiar with the program. Wisconsin was only 7-5 and had already lost three home games – the season opener to a bad Western Illinois team, and then in the span of a few days two close losses to in-state rivals Milwaukee and Marquette. In Gard’s first game, the Badgers almost blew a 30 point lead against Wisconsin-Green Bay before holding on for a victory at the Kohl Center.   The Big Ten season didn’t start much better for Gard as the Badgers lost four of their first five Conference games. The team finally hit bottom when it lost at Northwestern on January 12. It was looking more and more like Gard would, indeed, only be the Interim Coach.   And then something incredible happened. Gard was able to hold the team together; change its offense back to “The Swing”; give significant minutes...