WISCONSIN'S BO RYAN RECEIVES 2008 PHELAN AWARD
April 4, 2008
2008 Phelan Award Finalists
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(MA) -- After leading Wisconsin to both the Big Ten and regular season and
conference tournament championships, Bo Ryan has been selected as the
recipient of the 2008 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award.
The award, which is voted on by a 20-member selection and is chaired by
Jim Phelan, is presented annually at the Final Four to the top coach in
“There weren’t many who thought Wisconsin would be a factor in the Big
Ten, let alone win the league,” says CollegeInsider.com’s Joe Dwyer. “But
Bo Ryan has made a career of proving people wrong. He is without question
one of the top handful of coaches in all of college basketball.”
Wisconsin did in fact begin the season unranked and all the preseason
publications had the Badgers picked anywhere from fourth to sixth in the
Big Ten. Ryan’s team would end the season with a school-record 31 wins,
which includes a record 16 Big Ten wins (most in the conference since
Indiana went 17-1 in 1992-93).
Ryan’s team ran off ten straight wins early in the season, highlighted by
a last-second win over Texas on the road (Dec. 29). The Badgers closed the
season with a 13-game winning streak before losing to Davidson in the
“It’s a great honor to receive an award from an organization like
CollegeInsider.com bearing Coach Phelan’s name,” says Ryan. “I have gotten
to know Coach Phelan over the years and I have always admired him as both
a coach and a person. And nobody does a better job of covering all aspects
of the game then CollegeInsider.com so I am truly honored to hold this
This was the third Big Ten regular-season title for Ryan in his seven
seasons. It’s the first time in school history the Badgers have won both
the regular-season and tournament titles in the same season.
On the heels of the Big Ten tournament championship, the Badgers earned a
No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, which is the second-highest seed in
school history. Wins over Cal State Fullerton and Kansas State put
Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 for the third time in the last six seasons.
Under the guidance of Ryan, Wisconsin is one of only five schools in the
country to win at least 30 games in each of the last two seasons and a
61-11 record over two years is fifth best nationally.
Ryan’s team led the nation in scoring defense (54.4 ppg.).
In his seven seasons at the University of Wisconsin, Bo Ryan has led the
Badgers to heights not reached in Madison in many years. Each season
further establishes UW as a major player on the national scene and Ryan as
one of the top coaches in the country. His Badger teams have compiled a
173-60 (.742) record, already placing him third on Wisconsin’s all-time
wins list (behind basketball hall of famers Bud Foster and Walter Meanwell).
Ryan was one of ten finalists for the award. The other nine finalists were
Rick Barnes (Texas), John Calipari (Memphis), Keno Davis (Drake), Bob
McKillop (Davidson), Sean Miller (Xavier), Matt Painter (Purdue), Bruce
Pearl (Tennessee), Brad Stevens (Butler) and John Thompson III
Prior to 2003 the award was known simply as the CollegeInsider.com
national coach of the year. It was renamed to honor longtime Mount St.
Mary’s head coach Jim Phelan who retired following the 2002-03 season.
The previous winners of the award are Tony Bennett (Washington State) in
2007, Ben Howland (UCLA) in 2006, Tubby Smith (Kentucky) in 2005, Phil
Martelli (St. Joseph’s) in 2004 and Mark Slonaker (Mercer) in 2003.