The Wisconsin Badgers will lose the best coach in program history and one of the best in all of college basketball when Bo Ryan retires after the 2015-16 season, as he announced he will do in a statement on Monday.
After Ryan, 67, steps down from the position he's held for 14 years at next season's end, what will his legacy be? The answer: there may be too much to pinpoint.
Perhaps Ryan's legacy is his incredible run of 14 NCAA tournament appearances in 14 seasons. Or maybe it's that his team has never finished below fourth place in the Big Ten. Is it his school record 357 wins? The best conference winning percentage in Big Ten history at .717?
We've already mentioned all of that success without having even touched the four Big Ten regular-season titles, three Big Ten tournament championships, seven Sweet 16 appearances and three Elite Eight berths. His two best seasons have been the most recent, reaching the Final Four in 2013-14 and pushing through to the national championship in 2014-15.
With all of that success, the greatest legacies of Ryan may not have even been mentioned yet.
Upon taking the job before the 2001 season, Ryan adopted sets of basketball analytics and applied them to his strategy year after year. The system, predicated on offensive efficiency allowed by strong shot selection and limiting turnovers, led to continuity with Ryan's Badgers teams year after year.
Perhaps, then, Ryan's legacy at Wisconsin should reflect his teams' incredible offensive efficiency.
Big Ten Offensive Efficiency in the Tempo Free/Bo Ryan Era: pic.twitter.com/YjaaC9ASQv— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) June 29, 2015
In many ways, Ryan was already ahead of the game when he came to Madison in 2001 by using offensive efficiency and points per possession to gauge performance. The result, as the tweet above shows, was consistency. Wisconsin's consistent winning during the Ryan era goes hand-in-hand with that.
For years, pundits called Wisconsin basketball "boring" and the knock on Ryan was that his slow-paced offense would always keep the Badgers from making the Final Four.
In the last two seasons, Ryan's teams essentially told the entire nation to shut it. Ryan's strategy didn't change; rather, the process came to an ever satisfying fruition.
The 2013-14 Badgers finished fourth in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to Kenpom.com. In 2014-15, they made their effort the previous season look like rubbish by becoming the best offense in college basketball history.
Any way you spin it, Bo Ryan completely transformed the basketball program at Wisconsin. It's a nearly impossible task to properly give justice to his successes and what he's meant to the players, students, fans and everyone around college basketball.
The only thing possibly more impossible? Beating 38-0 Kentucky.