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Former Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan named Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame finalist

UW’s all-time leader in wins could be enshrined in September.

NCAA Basketball: Championship Game-Wisconsin Press Conference Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Former Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan was named as one of 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the class of 2017. The finalists, who include Chris Webber, Rebecca Lobo, Bill Self and Sidney Moncrief, were announced at NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans on Saturday.

It is the third straight year Ryan has been nominated and named a finalist, with a 32-year resume as a collegiate head coach that boasts 747 wins—26th on the NCAA’s all-time wins list. He owns a 364-130 record in his time in Madison, the most wins in program history, while leading his Badgers to back-to-back Final Fours during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons and seven Big Ten conference championships (four regular season, three tournament).

Prior to his time at Wisconsin, where he also won four Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, Ryan coached the UW-Milwaukee and UW-Plateville men’s basketball teams from 1999-2000 and 1984-99, respectively. He guided the Pioneers to four Division III championships in the 1990s.

The actual class of 2017 will be announced before the national championship game at a press conference in Phoenix on Monday, April 3. The Naismith Hall of Fame festivities will then be held on Sept. 7-9 in Springfield, Mass.

Here’s the official release from the Wisconsin athletic department:

MADISON, Wis. – For the third-straight year, former Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan has been named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as announced Saturday at NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

Ryan is among 14 finalists named for consideration in the 2017 class, which will be announced on Monday, April 3 at a press conference in Phoenix prior to the NCAA championship game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, Sept. 7-9.

Ryan is one of five previous finalists included again this year for consideration, joined by: five-time NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Tim Hardaway, the all-time winningest boys high school coach Robert Hughes, three-time Consensus National College Coach of the Year from Notre Dame Muffet McGraw and 10-time AAU National Champions Wayland Baptist University.

This year's list includes nine first-time finalists: 28-year NBA referee Hugh Evans, AP Female Athlete of the Year and ESPN Analyst Rebecca Lobo, NCAA National Championship Coach of Villanova Rollie Massimino, two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Sidney Moncrief, two-time NCAA National Championship Coach of Baylor Kim Mulkey, two-time AP College Coach of the Year Bill Self, two-time NBA Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber.

Ryan spent 32 seasons as a collegiate head coach before retiring in December of 2015. He finished his career 26th on the NCAA's all-time wins list with a record of 747-233 (.762), including a mark of 364-130 (.737) in 14-plus seasons at Wisconsin. Author of the most wins in UW annals and the best winning percentage in Big Ten history, Ryan led the Badgers to seven Big Ten titles, back-to-back Final Fours in 2014 and 2015 and an appearance in the national championship game.

A native of Chester, Pennsylvania, Ryan was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year four times (2002, 2003, 2013, 2015) while coaching at Wisconsin. Prior to his time in Madison, he coached at UW-Milwaukee (1999-2000) and UW-Platteville (1984-1999), where his team won four NCAA Division III Championships (1991, 1995, 1998, 1999). Ryan led Wisconsin to four Big Ten regular season championships (2002, 2003, 2008, 2015), three Big Ten Tournament championships (2004, 2008, 2015), and the NCAA Final Four twice (2014, 2015). Ryan is a recipient of the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award (2007), NABC Outstanding Service Award (2009) and Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award (2013).

It was during his 15-year tenure at UW-Platteville that Ryan firmly established himself as one of the nation's top coaches. Ryan guided the Division III program to a phenomenal 353-76 (.822) overall record. In his final 12 seasons, the Pioneers won four national championships (1991, '95, '98, '99), were the winningest NCAA men's basketball team of the 1990s (all divisions) with a 266-26 (.908) record, won eight WIAC titles, compiled a 30-5 NCAA Division III tournament mark, and never won fewer than 23 games.

Before coming to Wisconsin, Ryan coached for two seasons at UW-Milwaukee. There, he coached the Panthers to their first back-to-back winning seasons in eight years. UWM also experienced a 161-percent home attendance increase in his first season.

Ryan's coaching career began in the fall of 1972 at Brookhaven High School in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where he was hired as a history teacher and head basketball coach. After just one year at Brookhaven, Ryan began his collegiate coaching career in 1973 at Dominican College of Racine (Wisconsin) as an assistant under Bill Cofield.

In 1974, Ryan moved back to the Philadelphia area to serve as the head basketball coach at Sun Valley High School. Ryan would move back to the collegiate coaching ranks for good in March of 1976 when Cofield again hired him as an assistant, this time at Wisconsin. Ryan spent eight seasons (1976-84) working under Cofield and Steve Yoder before taking over at UW-Platteville in the spring of 1984.