Less than a year ago, a large portion of Badger Nation was loudly calling for Greg Gard to be fired. But his critics have been pretty quiet as of late, and today’s news should silence them completely.
On Friday, Wisconsin’s men’s basketball coach was named to the late-season Naismith College Coach of the Year list. Gard is one of 15 elite coaches in the running for this distinguished award.
Naismith Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List:
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) February 18, 2022
Four finalists will be announced on March 23rd. Then, fans have a chance to vote for the coach they believe should win, beginning the 25th and ending the 30th. The winner will be named on April 3rd, the day before the national championship game.
Does Greg Gard Have a Case?
Wisconsin currently has a 20-5 overall record and is 11-4 in conference play. As of today, they’re sitting in second place in the Big 10 – arguably one of the most competitive in the nation – just behind 12-4 Purdue. Additionally, they’re ranked #15 in the AP Top-25 and have beaten four ranked teams so far this season: Houston (#14), Ohio State (#18), Michigan State (#19) and Purdue (#5).
Take a moment to really let all those numbers sink in. What Greg Gard has done this year is nothing short of incredible. The Badgers lost six of their seven seniors last year, with only Brad Davison returning to lead a very young, inexperienced squad. 12 of Wisconsin’s 17 players are freshmen or sophomores. That alone could’ve been enough to wave the white flag and brand this a “rebuilding” season.
Instead, Gard rose to the challenge. Sure, his team has had a few hiccups and bad losses along the way. But despite all the adversity Gard’s guys have faced, they’re still thriving. Playing hard. Showing up in close games. Above all, they’re winning.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Gard has helped develop sophomore Johnny Davis into a superstar and a legitimate contender for National Player of the Year?
Congrats to Coach Gard, a @NaismithTrophy National Coach of the Year Late Season honoree
20 wins, and counting…
📝: https://t.co/JsKOW1GAek pic.twitter.com/AroysZ3CiQ
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 18, 2022
Gard already won the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award (2015-16). He was named the Big 10 Coach of the Year in 2020. And depending on how his Badgers team finishes this season and performs during the tournament in March, it’s not impossible to think that Gard could be adding another COTY honor to his name very soon. On, Wisconsin!
For more Wisconsin Sports Content:
Follow me on Twitter at @mal__allen and follow us @WiSportsHeroics! For the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here. Check out our merch store here! Check out our merch store to get some awesome WSH swag!