UNDATED (AP) — Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan says he plans to retire after next season.

 

After 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, seven Sweet 16s, four Big Ten titles, two Final Fours and a berth in last year's national championship game, the hard-charging 67-year-old Ryan has only one more season left in him.

Ryan surprised the college basketball world Monday when he announced that he plans to retire after next season as he looks to pass the torch after molding the Badgers into a national power. And were it not for some cajoling from Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, Ryan said he would have called it a career in April after the Badgers lost to Duke in the national title game.

"I've always been told that is not a decision to be made right after a season is completed," Ryan said in a statement issued by the school. "Barry thankfully encouraged me to take some time to think about it and I have done that."

Ryan said it is his hope that longtime Badgers assistant Greg Gard is chosen to succeed him. The associate head coach has been on Ryan's staff dating to 1993, when the two were at Division III Wisconsin-Platteville.

"It was kind of shocking to me," said Sam Dekker, a forward on last year's team just drafted by theHouston Rockets. "I knew it was coming at some point but I didn't know it would be this soon. It's shocking. If it's the best decision for him and if it will make him happy, then so be it. It's going to be different seeing a different coach on the sideline, that's for sure."

Whoever gets the job has some big shoes to fill. The silver-haired Ryan is the Badger program, stomping up and down the sideline, barking at referees and pushing Wisconsin to national power status with a brand of basketball that was often much more physical than flashy.

Ryan is 357-125 (.741) as coach of the Badgers and has taken the program to the NCAA Tournament in every one of his seasons on the bench.

The Badgers reached a crest over the last two seasons, topping last year's Final Four run by beating undefeated Kentucky in the national semifinals this season before losing to Duke.

"I am looking forward to another year with our program, including our players, my terrific assistant coaches, our office staff and everyone who supports Wisconsin basketball here in Madison, around the state and across the country," Ryan said.

Though he was born and raised in Pennsylvania, Ryan became synonymous with the state of Wisconsin. He served as an assistant for the Badgers from 1976-84, won four national titles in 15 years at Platteville and coached UW-Milwaukee for two years before Alvarez brought him back to Madison. His career record is 740-228 and he is so ingrained in the state's culture that he starred in a television commercial for the state's tourism bureau that poked fun at his grumpy image.