Every year, UW–Platteville brings distinguished lecturers to campus to inspire students.
In UW–Platteville’s sesquicentennial year, university officials are bringing a familiar face: Bo Ryan.
The current head basketball coach for the Wisconsin Badgers, who has led UW to consecutive Final Four berths, staked his claim in the NCAA by being the head coach at UW–Platteville.
Prior to 2013, the Improvement of Learning Committee began its selection process by surveying students to see what topics they would like to see the speaker discuss. The past two years, however, the committee knew the topics ahead of time. Last year the School of Agriculture celebrated its 100th anniversary, which is why they brought cowboy poet Baxter Black.
This year being UW–Platteville’s sesquicentennial, the committee wanted a name that would make an impact at the university. The committee knew Ryan was an obvious choice but wanted to see if the students felt the same way. According to the polls provided by Valerie Wetzel, assistant director of the Pioneer Involvement Center, 86 percent of students wanted to see Ryan come to the university.
“We knew we wanted someone who was connected to the university in more ways than one,” said Wetzel. “Students are excited. The distinguished lecturer is a time for everyone to come together and learn as a university.”
Before coming to UW–Platteville in 1984, Ryan was the assistant coach for the Wisconsin Badgers from 1976 to 1984. He coached at UW-Platteville from 1984- to 1999, where he led the Pioneers to an overall record of 353–76, with national championships in 1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999 and an additional Division III Final Four berth.
In January 2007, UW–Platteville honored Ryan’s 15-year coaching career at the university by naming the new court in the Williams Fieldhouse, Bo Ryan Court. Ryan announced earlier this summer that he would retire after the 2015–16 season, though last week he said he might not retire after this season after all.
There is more to Ryan than being a basketball coach. He has done a significant amount of work in academics, and recently wrote a book, Another Hill to Climb. Ryan also does philanthropy with many organizations, a major one being Coaches vs. Cancer; this year he helped them raise more than $1 million during their gala.
The Distinguished Lecturer is sponsored by the Pioneer Involvement Center and supported by Segregated University Fee Allocation Commission and the Wilgus Fund. It will take place in Williams Fieldhouse Bo Ryan Court Tuesday, April 19 at 9:30 a.m. Classes will be cancelled during that time.