Last Monday, the UW–Platteville men’s basketball program announced a special preseason game against the Division 1 Wisconsin Badgers.
Coach Jeff Gard’s Pioneers will face older brother Greg Gard’s Wisconsin Badgers in an exhibition game on Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. in the Kohl Center in Madison.
The contest will be much more than a basketball game for the coaching brothers, who will square off on the one-year anniversary of the death of their father, Glen.
The game, which will be held in partnership with the UW Carbone Cancer Center, will also double as a “Brain Cancer Awareness Game.”
Both teams’ staffs and game management officials will wear lapel pins that include a gray ribbon for brain cancer and the vent’s logo. Fans in attendance will receive a gray wristband upon entry, and the game ticket features a picture of the Gard family.
Glen Gard, a long-time resident of Cobb, died last fall at the age of 72 of gliobastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of brain cancer.
“This is a perfect stage to bring awareness to glioblastoma and making this a brain tumor awareness game,” said Jeff Gard. “It’s going to be sponsored by the UW Carbone Cancer Center, and now Southwest Health [in Platteville] is tied in with the Carbone Center.”
During the game, in the back of his mind, Jeff knows that his dad will be on his mind.
“It’s going to be a difficult and trying day, being one year ago the day dad past away. It’s going to be, as we say, bittersweet day. There’s obviously going to be a lot of tough feelings going into this day,” said Jeff.
The Gard brothers don’t want to make it a “brother versus brother” thing, but much rather focus on the student-athletes and the purpose of the game.
“It’s a great opportunity for the student-athletes, and for our community. There are obviously so many connections still with Wisconsin here at Platteville,” added Jeff.
Greg Gard served as an assistant coach to the legendary Bo Ryan at UW–Platteville for six seasons. The Pioneers won three NCAA Division III titles during Gard’s tenure at UW–Platteville.
The elder Gard took over the Badgers last December as an interim head coach after Ryan stepped down. He was officially named the head coach last March after leading the Badgers to their 16th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and the Sweet 16.
“You always knew that he was destined for success, no matter where he started out at,” said Jeff of his older brother. “A lot of that goes back to the work ethics that were developed with the family.”
This will be the third time the Pioneers and Badgers have met in the exhibition season. UW–Platteville has also played games at NCAA Division I schools Purdue, UW–Milwaukee, Illinois–Chicago, and Bradley, beating the Braves 84–79 in 2008.