GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – If you looked at Will and Bo Ryan together side by side, you can see the family resemblance. But Will will tell you he doesn’t have one distinctive look that Bo is known for.
“I don’t have the eagle eye stare,” he says with a grin.
Will is the new head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay men’s basketball team, and the feeling of coming home is something he won’t let go of anytime soon.
“Being able to come home, be around family and friends and all the contacts that I have, throughout the state and the region, was a feeling that you can’t forget,” Will says.
You could say, basketball is in his blood… after all, his father roamed the sidelines for 40 plus years, most prominently at the University of Wisconsin. But the challenge of being Bo’s son never shook Will.
“You get to learn everyday and live under the same roof as one of the greatest coaches that ever roamed the sidelines,” Will says. “I embraced it, I didn’t shy away from it. Ultimately, it helped me become a better coach.”
Growing up a coach’s son, you either become a player, or you do the only thing you know how to do: coach.
“I don’t know anything else other than to coach the game of basketball. It’s a game that I love,” Will says quietly.
For his father, he couldn’t be prouder.
“He’s been around the game forever. The state of Wisconsin has been awfully good to our family. Now Will has a chance to get back, which I’m sure he’s looking forward to,” Bo Ryan says.
But in these unprecedented times, times unlike anything any coach has ever seen, how does a young coach begin to build a program?
“It, you know, crosses your mind, every day, every couple of days, where you’re like, are we gonna have a season? Even though we’re coaching with masks on and they’re playing with masks on, trying to get used to that is extremely difficult, but we’re doing the best we can,” Will says with confidence.
And in the end, he can always ask dad for advice.
“What he needs to do is to learn from each and every experience. I’ve always felt that from every game I’ve ever coached, I learned something,” Bo says. “What to do or what not to do, or what you need to work on.”
As of right now, the Horizon League, which the Green Bay Phoenix belong to, has delayed the start of fall sports to October 1.