Bo Ryan: Best Coach in the Big Ten?
Bo Ryan. The name is fast becoming synonymous with lock-down defense and deadly efficient offense.
Ryan coaches the Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball team. In just nine years at UW, Ryan is already the best coach the Badgers have ever had, and has shown himself to be the best regular season coach in the Big Ten conference, and possibly the nation.
Coach Ryan preaches fundamentals, discipline, and patience, and his players listen.
During his tenure in Madison, the Badgers are 210-78 (.729) overall, and 101-41 (.711) in Big Ten play. In the 103 years prior to the arrival of Ryan, the Badgers had a .531 winning percentage and were just .411 in the conference.
Let's take a look at some of the Badger's accomplishments during Ryan's stay in Mad-town.
-In December, Ryan became the third coach to reach 200 wins at UW, he currently sits behind just Harold Foster (265) and Walter Meanwell (246) for most coaching victories at UW.
-Ryan is one of only 17 active Div. I coaches with at least 500 career victories, and his winning percentage in the time span is second only to Roy Williams.
The following is a list of the top five winning percentages among active Division I head coaches with at least 500 career victories
(through Feb. 3, '10).
Coach (Current School) Yrs. 2009-10 Overall Pct.
1. Roy Williams (North Carolina) 22 13-8 608-146 .806
2. Bo Ryan (Wisconsin) 26 17-5 593-181 .766
3. Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) 35 17-4 850-278 .754
4. Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) 34 22-1 821-288 .740
5. Bob Huggins (West Virginia) 28 18-3 657-236 .736
-Ryan’s winning percentage, .711 (101-41) in Big Ten games is the best of any Big Ten coach in history, surpassing both Bob Knight (353-151, .700) and Tom Izzo’s (168-72, .700) percentage.
WINNINGEST BIG TEN HEAD COACHES
The following is a list of the coaches with the best all-time winning
percentages in Big Ten play (min. five years)
Coach (School) Yrs. Record Pct.
1. Bo Ryan (WIS) 9 101-41 .711
2. Bob Knight (IND) 29 353-151 .700
3. Tom Izzo (MSU) 14 168-72 .700
4. Ward Lambert (PUR) 29 228-105 .683
5. Ralph Jones (ILL) 8 64-31 .674
-With the Badger's Jan. 24 victory against Penn State, Ryan tied legendary Indiana coach Branch McCracken as the second-fastest coach in conference history to record 100 Big Ten wins, accomplishing this milestone in 140 games. Only Indiana coach Bob Knight reached that plateau sooner (131 games).
- Under Ryan, the Badgers have won at least 11 conference games six times in eight years. In the 96 years of Big Ten play prior to that, Wisconsin only had seven years with 11 or more conference victories.
BIG TEN RECORD
The following are Big Ten conference records since 2001-02 (records through Feb. 3, '10):
School W-L Pct.
1. Wisconsin 101-41 0.711
2. Michigan State 97-45 0.683
3. Illinois 93-49 0.655
4. Ohio State 86-56 0.606
5. Indiana 73-67 0.521
6. Purdue 69-72 0.489
7. Iowa 61-81 0.430
8. Michigan 61-81 0.430
9. Minnesota 59-82 0.418
10. Northwestern 45-97 0.317
11. Penn State 34-108 0.239
-Wisconsin has finished in the top four of the conference each of Ryan's eight years. This is the longest streak of top four finishes in Wisconsin history.
-Prior to Ryan's appearance, the Badgers reached the NCAA tournament only seven times, and had a 9-6 record. Under Ryan, the Badgers are 11-8 in postseason play, and have reached the NCAA tournament every one of his eight years.
-This year, the Badgers are one of just two teams (Syracuse) to have three victories against three or more top 10 teams.
-Wisconsin is one of just three teams (Georgetown and Syracuse) to post wins against five or more top 25 teams.
Impressive statistics, beyond a doubt, and Ryan could be considered the best coach in the Big Ten.
Except for one little thing.
The Badgers have never advanced beyond the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament under Ryan.
Bo Ryan has definitely proved himself to be a good coach, but without that elusive Final Four appearance and national Championship, he will not be considered in the same breath as Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, and Tom Izzo.
While I respect Ryan, and wouldn't want anyone else coaching the Badgers, one has to ask, when does just exceeding preseason expectations become not good enough?
Ryan needs to step up his recruiting efforts and take his team to a national championship to earn the respect he deserves on a national level.
Good luck, Bo.
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