Platteville fond of former UW-P coach

As the Badgers head to the Final Four, an area group gathers to salute the team and Bo Ryan.

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Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 12:00 am

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. -- Bo Ryan is gone, but 15 years since leaving Platteville, the men's basketball coach is not forgotten.

Ryan is taking the Wisconsin Badgers to Final Four this weekend. It's his first appearance with the Badgers, but Ryan had plenty of championship experience at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, winning four NCAA Division III national championships.

More than 25 people gathered Thursday afternoon at Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce & Travel Wisconsin Welcome Center for a group photo to celebrate the accomplishment and wish Ryan and the team well.

Chamber Executive Director Kathy Kopp organized the photo.

"With all the excitement, this was the proper salute to Bo, the team and the fans," she said. "He's got quite the history in Platteville. I think he's pretty partial to Platteville, where he's a household name."

A native of Chester, Pa., Ryan has deep Platteville connections and is revered by many. In his final 12 years at the school, Ryan compiled a 314-37 record.

Ryan was as competitive at the card table as he was in the gymnasium, recalled Ron Mann, a former euchre partner.

"I tried not to be (Ryan's partner) often because I was not a very good player and he'd get stuck with me," Mann said, smiling. "He grew up playing euchre, and he was good. He'd say, 'Ron, why did you lead with this? Why did you do this?'"

Mann stays in touch with Ryan, a former neighbor and "great friend." They most recently touched base on Monday.

"He was well-liked, hell of a coach, and he always was busy doing something," Mann said. "Bo would say sleep was overrated, except when we were going golfing someplace -- we'd just get out of town, (and) he'd get these power naps in, and in 15 minutes, he was ready to go again."

On Jan. 27, 2007, UW-P honored Ryan by naming the Williams Fieldhouse basketball court Bo Ryan Court.

"He was a great guy," said Tim Boldt, of Platteville, president of the UW-P men's basketball boosters club. "He's genuine, down home and he's never forgotten his roots."

Sue Lindholm, of Platteville, was watching the Badgers' last game Saturday night with other fans downtown.

"You go outside after they won, and you could hear the whole town roar," she said. "It was like when the Packers won the Super Bowl. People were really whooping it up."

Mike Hahn remembers Ryan from his time with the Pioneers.

"He had the attitude," Hahn said. "He could win. ... His kids came through. These are kids who came who wanted to play just for the fun of basketball. They were great kids. They helped out on campus. They tutored. They did all kinds of things. And Bo was a great addition to a small town."

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