Interim head coach Greg Gard is reportedly in line to be the long-term successor to recently retired Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball coach Bo Ryan.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported Monday that Gard is expected to be offered a five-year contract. Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel confirmed the report and indicated the deal would be worth "close to" $2 million per season.
Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal reported Gard will officially be introduced as the permanent head coach Tuesday. Ryan retired this past December with a record of 394-157, reaching the Final Four in each of his prior two full seasons.
Under Gard's interim guidance, Wisconsin has posted a 13-6 record to date—a commendable effort after the sudden exit of a coach who was the face of the Badgers program.
Gard is the logical successor; there is hardly anyone more qualified to carry on Ryan's philosophies and serve as a presence of continuity. Ryan spoke highly of his all-around ability to lead in 2014, per Gard's official profile on the Badgers athletics website:
Greg knows why we do drills the way we do them. Why we do things in a game the way we do them. He understands the personalities and the interactions of the players. Greg's a guy that knows the teams in the league, works extremely hard at scheduling, which is a very difficult job. Scouting reports. He just does it all.
Amid his 26th year of coaching and 15th season on the Wisconsin staff, Gard has the goods to keep the Badgers competitive in the deep Big Ten and keep the basketball principles Ryan preached intact.
Given the way he has handled the sudden increase in responsibilities during the 2015-16 campaign, not to mention the pressure of following Ryan, he's already proved adept at adapting to the massively important role.
The extent of Wisconsin's investment in Gard goes to show how highly he must be thought of in Madison to carry the Badgers into a new era.
While college hoops fans can expect a similar brand of basketball and recruiting style, perhaps Gard will prove to be the fresh energy Wisconsin needs to get over the hump for a national championship, which it never did during Ryan's epic tenure.