After taking over mid-season for Bo Ryan, Greg Gard is getting some help from a familiar face.
Howard Moore, the former University of Illinois-Chicago head coach and a previous assistant coach under Ryan at Wisconsin, will return to Madison as an assistant for Gard, the Badgers announced on Tuesday.
Moore spent the last five seasons with UIC, but was fired after last season. A graduate and former player at Wisconsin, Moore worked under Ryan at UW from 2005-10.
"Given the timing and the situation, bringing in Howard is a home run for our program and players," Gard said. "To have the ability to bring in someone with his experience and knowledge of the way we do things is a perfect fit and win-win. He was a part of our championship team in 2008 and he has a passion for UW that is unparalleled. He loved his experience here and has a deep affection for this place and its people. We're extremely fortunate to have someone like Howard available and eager to join our staff."
Recruiting problems spelled trouble for 2015
Wisconsin is one of the most inexperienced teams in the country, a glaring departure from past years. A few of the roster's obvious weaknesses came as a result of a couple lean years on the recruiting trail.
Moore was 49-111 at UIC, coaching the Flames to a 17-67 record in the Horizon League. In the 2012-13 season, UIC won 18 games for the first time in six years and recorded the nation's 12th-largest turnaround from the previous season. The result earned UIC its first-ever postseason win in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament; the Flames also led the Horizon League in defensive field goal percentage that year (62.8 points allowed per game) for the lowest mark in school history. Moore finished the season as a finalist for the Ben Jobe Award (nation's top collegiate coach).
"I'm extremely excited to get back to Madison. I've had a chance to get a breather and the best way to get re-energized is to go home again," Moore said. "I love my alma mater and I have a great passion for the University of Wisconsin. I want to make sure the things that were put in place by this staff and Coach Ryan stay intact. Greg Gard is very good friend who I support and if there is anything I can do to help him, I want to do that."
During his time on the Badgers' bench under Ryan, Moore saw UW make five consecutive NCAA tournament trips, including the Sweet 16 run to cap the 2007-08 campaign in which Wisconsin won 31 games, a school record at the time. Moore also coached four All-Big Ten players at Wisconsin, including Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker.
Moore also has assistant coaching experience at Loyola (2004-05), Ball State (2003-04), Bradley (2000-03) and the University of Chicago (1998-99).
As a player at Wisconsin, Moore appeared in 47 games from 1990-95, including 21 as a senior. In 1994, he was part of the team including Michael Finley, Rashard Griffith, Tracy Webster, Andy Kilbride and Brian Kelley that brought Wisconsin back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1947.
Ryan retired on Dec. 15 following a win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the Badgers named Gard interim head coach.