DATELINE: MADISON, WISCONSIN - In a shocking turn of events to kick off Badger Hate Week, Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball coach called a press conference this morning to announce his immediate retirement. That retirement did not last until the end of the press conference, as Ryan announced his immediate return to coaching after fielding a few questions about his post-coaching plans. Things kept spinning for the four time NCAA Division 3 championship winning coach, as Ryan grew impatient with the reporters asking questions about his sudden change of heart and he announced that he was sticking with his original announcement and stormed out of the room without another word.
"Y'know what? I should have expected this kind of reaction from you guys in the media," said Ryan, with a deeper than usual scowl on his face. "You don't understand what it's like to work hard every day to help boys grow into men who play basketball the right way. You don't understand what I've been through. I had to live in Platteville. I had to take paychecks from UW-Milwaukee. Screw you guys, and screw this. I'm retiring. You're done having me to kick around. Except for you, Jeff. You're still welcome to come over for tea every afternoon."
Unconfirmed reports stated that Tom Oates was crying quietly in the corner after hearing Ryan's final sentence.
In announcing his original immediate retirement, Ryan made reference to the Badgers losing at home to Western Illinois. The loss to the Leathernecks was the first time that Ryan's Badgers had lost to a sub-150 KenPom team at home since January of 2006, when Wisconsin got stunned by South Dakota State. Ryan wouldn't confirm it through further questions from the gathered media, but it seemed that he was blaming the loss on Nigel Hayes going scoreless in the second half against WIU.
After answering a few questions about future fishing trips and his new downtown Madison condo, Ryan seemed to develop a wistful look on his face. After a question from the UW student newspaper went unanswered for what seemed like an eternity, Ryan broke out into what passes for a smile on his Grinch-like visage. "Answering these questions about my future was harder than I expected," Ryan said quietly. His voice rose in volume as he continued. "I know I promised [assistant coach] Greggy [Gard] that he'd coach the team the rest of the year, but I really don't want to do anything but wake up, put on a pair of way too short shorts, and go mold young men every day. Enough of this silly retirement stuff. I'm the Wisconsin coach, and I'm going to stay the Wisconsin coach."
It's not entirely surprising that Ryan had multiple changes of heart regarding his future, although it's rare for a coach to change his mind twice in one press conference. In late June, Ryan announced that he will coach one final season at Wisconsin before retiring. At the time, Ryan had mentioned that he hoped that assistant Greg Gard would be his successor, but the lack of response on that topic from UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez spoke volumes without saying anything. That may have had something to do with Ryan changing course in August at a charity event, announcing that he no longer had plans to retire after the 2015-16 season, but it also wasn't completely out of the question, either.
We will have to keep our eyes on this story as it develops....