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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.