On Monday, Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard was officially named the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, announced by CollegeInsider.com. The award is given annually to the individual chosen as the top coach in Division I.
Though he took over under strange circumstances, to say the least, the Badgers didn't skip a beat in the transition from long-time head coach Bo Ryan to Gard. In fact, their play picked up significantly on their way to earning a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers went 12-6 under Gard's leadership (all Big Ten games) and finished fourth in the conference.
Thanks to a first round win over the Pittsburgh Panthers and an upset of the second-seeded Xavier Musketeers, Gard became the first, first-year head coach to guide his team to a Sweet 16 since Chris Mack of Xavier accomplished the feat in 2010. He is the second Wisconsin coach to win the award, after Coach Ryan won it after the 2007/2008 season.
Gard received a long-term contract from Wisconsin in early March.