Green Bay’s Ryan ready for return trip to Madison


Green Bay coach Will Ryan asks a referee a question during the tam’s NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in Minneapolis. Minnesota won 99-69. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

(WFRV) – Will Ryan is pretty familiar with the Kohl Center and the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program.

The new head coach of the Green Bay Phoenix started his career as a graduate assistant, and eventually becoming the team’s director of basketball operations. The ties to the program, of course, go way beyond that with his father Bo Ryan leading the Badgers to great success over 15 years in Madison.

Now retired, the elder Ryan watches from his home in California. He. still needs to step away from the computer some times, just like Bo Ryan told reporters at at Will’s introductory press conference back in the summer.

“My dad, he’s a lot like my grandpa, he’ll watch in spurts and then he’ll probably go pace around the house,” said Will Ryan.

Bo Ryan won’t be roaming the sidelines come Tuesday afternoon after being unable to make the trip to Madison due to the pandemic. There will be few other familiar faces ready to greet Will Ryan and the Phoenix. Starting with a coaching staff that has quite the history with the Ryan family.

“Just looking down on the other end and seeing coach (Greg) Gard, who’ve I’ve known since I was about 14 years old, (Joe) Krabbenhoft, and (Alando) Tucker. It’s going to be interesting to look down there and see them wearing their red and white, and us in our green and white. We’re looking forward to it. It will be fun, it will be a great experience for our guys,” said Ryan.

Will Ryan and Badgers head coach Greg Gard go way back to when the Ryan family was at Platteville. Starting with Gard coaching the younger Ryan as a freshman in high school, and eventually in college at UW-Platteville.

“It’s been fun to watch him grow from the little kid at camp that was usually the first pick in the draft that we had at summer camp, to having the chance to coach him in high school a little bit. You could tell he was a coach’s kid. That’s why he was on the varsity, not because he was Bo’s son, because he was good player and really ahead from a knowledge standpoint,” said Greg Gard.

Ryan also has a unique perspective of what the fourth ranked Badgers on the court. Having seen the system, and how it’s utilized, Ryan is quite familiar with the challenges of facing any Wisconsin team.

“You know, they just don’t beat themselves. Everybody’s a threat out there, everybody’s a weapon. Offensively they space you out, every single guy can shoot it. You really can’t double, you can’t play off any guys, shad this way or that way, because they’re going to make you pay. Some teams you play against, you can pick your poison and play off guys a little bit, but not the Badgers,” said Ryan.

“They’re all so skilled. They share the ball, they pass the ball extremely well. Especially out of the post, throw skips out of the post to really good shooters. So with some teams you play against, you can pick your poison and play off guys a little bit, but not the Badgers. They’ve got a little bit of everything.”

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