Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NYTimes: Bo Ryan Is Weaned to Win in Wisconsin

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — As one approaches this town of 11,000 in the southwest corner of Wisconsin, the largest letter M in the world looms to the north. Made of 400 tons of whitewashed limestone, measuring more than 200 feet in each direction and symbolizing the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s mining tradition, it is peaked on the kind of hill not ordinarily seen in the northern Midwest.

Yet on another nearby hill, numerous Wisconsin-Platteville men’s basketball teams have been molded. During 15 seasons as coach of the Division III Pioneers, Bo Ryan began his seasons by making his teams repeatedly sprint up it for several days. The hill is about 200 yards and bumpy, with an incline of about 30 degrees.

“We were the thing to do in the winter, and our players wore that as a badge,” Ryan said of the popularity of Wisconsin-Platteville basketball.

While college basketball’s brand-name coaches scour the country’s high schools and Amateur Athletic Union circuits in search of the most gifted players, Ryan, now in his fifth decade coaching in the state, takes cornfed Midwesterners (mainly from Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio) and plugs them into his system. Most important, he wins.
continue at The New York Times

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