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It's official: Wisconsin hires Greg Gard as head coach

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The interim tag has been removed and Greg Gard is now the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, the team announced Monday night.

Your enthusiasm no longer needs to be Gard-ed.

After turning around their season while holding the interim role, Greg Gard has been named Wisconsin Badgers head coach.

Wisconsin made the move following the UW Board of Regents approving of Gard's contract on Monday night.

"It's an honor and a privilege to be named the head coach at the University of Wisconsin," Gard said, according to UWBadgers.com. "I'm extremely thankful to Coach Alvarez, the Athletic Board and the Board of Regents for this incredible opportunity to lead my home-state program into the future. It's a role and a responsibility that I cherish and take extremely seriously. It's been a long journey over the last quarter-century or so, but for me to be able to spend my entire career in this state and be surrounded by such incredible support has been vital to my success. I am so grateful to everyone who has played an integral part in my development.

"I am thankful to Coach Ryan for the opportunity he gave me to be a college coach over 25 years ago. He has been a positive mentor in the professional development of my career and showed great confidence in my abilities and potential as I grew as a young coach.

"I'm looking forward to building on the great tradition at Wisconsin and representing my home state in a manner that can make Badgers fans proud."

During his time as the interim coach, Gard led the Badgers to a third-place Big Ten finish and 13-6 record overall. Wisconsin defeated UW-Green Bay in Gard's first game at the helm, but staggered out of the gates in conference play, going only 1-4.

It was then that Gard and the Badgers completed a season transfiguration. What began with a 77-76 win over No. 4 Michigan State developed into Wisconsin winning seven consecutive games and eventually 11 out 12. Along the way, as the Badgers beat conference champion Indiana and won at No. 2 Maryland and No. 8 Iowa, the calls for the interim tag to be removed grew louder and louder.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez must have been watching--and listening.