Our Honorary Chair
A 2015 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year finalist, the basketball hall of fame credentials of Bo Ryan span well beyond his 14 seasons at the helm of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program. Ryan has elevated the UW program to heights previously unseen in Madison, climbing even higher in 2015 by reaching a second-straight Final Four and the national championship game for the first time since 1941.
With 740 wins, 19 championships and countless conference and national coach of the year accolades, including his rightly place in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Hall of Fame in October of 2011, there is little doubt that Ryan is among the great coaches in college basketball history. In 14 years atop the Wisconsin program, it is difficult to decide which is more impressive, his incredible longevity or his unparalleled success. It is, however, safe to say that the combination of the two is what elevates Ryan among college basketball’s elite.
But what makes him of the utmost elite, is his commitment and passion off the court in the fight against cancer.
“I’m honored to be a part of such a great event for such a worthwhile cause,” Ryan said. “With cancer touching so many people in so many different ways, it’s comforting to know that this event will benefit the American Cancer Society programs and services in the state of Wisconsin. Our goal is to make this a very successful event by combining the efforts of different coaches, staffs and college campuses throughout the state.”
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Coach Gard took over as the Badgers' interim head coach following the retirement of longtime head coach Bo Ryan on Dec. 15. A week later, having begun installation of the Swing offense that had brought UW much success in the past, Gard led the Badgers to an 84-79 win over Green Bay in his head coaching debut.
The transition to Gard's leadership began with a 1-4 start to the Big Ten Conference season, having UW at 9-9 overall, but it didn't take long for the Badgers to adjust. Wisconsin proceeded on a run that saw them become one of the nation's hottest teams down the stretch of the regular season, winning 11 of their final 13 games.
In November of 2015, Gard was ranked as the fourth-best "X&O" assistant coach in college basketball by coachstat.net. The rankings were made upon receipt of votes from a panel of national college basketball media, scouts and coaches.
Gard came to the Badgers after spending the previous two seasons as Ryan's assistant at UW-Milwaukee, where he had responsibilities in scouting, summer basketball camp operations and on-floor coaching, as well as involvement with recruiting.
Coach Gard and his wife, Michelle, are extremely excited and honored to be a part of this amazing event.
Rob Jeter has made his mark on the basketball program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee during his 10 seasons as head coach. Entering the 2015-16 season, Jeter is 22 wins shy of matching Guy Penwell’s school record of 186 victories and his 91 Horizon League victories rank fourth all-time among League coaches.
During his tenure at Milwaukee, Jeter has produced more victories (164) than any other head coach in the program’s NCAA Division I history, has guided the Panthers to four postseason appearances, including a pair of NCAA Tournament berths, and has developed 17 All-Horizon League players. Additionally, the Chicago native has piloted the Milwaukee program to three 20-win campaigns in the last six seasons and three postseason appearances in the last five years.
In 2011, Jeter was recognized widely for his efforts, earning League Coach of the Year honors as well as being named the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division I Coach of the Year. He was also a finalist for the Hugh Durham Coach of the Year Award, the Ben Jobe Award and the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award.
Not only has he made a major impact at UW-Milwaukee on the court, but he has also created a culture off the court for his players by being involved with major fundraising campaigns and charitable ventures including Coaches vs. Cancer.
“I am happy to take the role of co-hosting an event to raise awareness for such an important cause,” Jeter said. “The Coaches vs. Cancer concept has provided great awareness about the fight against cancer, and I am happy to team up with some of my fellow coaches in the state to raise that awareness even further. It is great to see this event become a reality and I trust we will receive plenty of support from those in the basketball community and across the state of Wisconsin.”
University of Wisconsin - Parkside
A 2013 Jack Bennett Man of the Year Award winner, Luke Reigel is in his 13th season as head coach of the UW-Parkside men's basketball program in the 2015-2016 season and his 16th season overall at the University. Reigel has guided the Rangers to three NCAA tournament appearances and sits second on the school’s all-time wins list with 145 wins.
With back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament in 2012-13 and 2013-14 season, Reigel's team sits in the record books. In 2012-2013, Reigel's squad captured the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division title for the first time in program history while recording the first 20-win campaign since 1987. The 2012-13 Rangers knocked off seven ranked opponents during the year including a regular season sweep of perennial powers Kentucky Wesleyan and Southern Indiana while climbing as high as 13th in the NABC Coaches' Poll. For his efforts, Reigel was named the 2013 GLVC Coach of the Year and 2013 NABC Midwest District Coach of the Year.
The coach, who comes from a solid educational background, ensures his student-athletes excel in the classroom and community. He does so with leading by example by being a part of Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin.
"This is an incredible opportunity for people from all around the state, and basketball fans from each of these schools, to come together and support a cuase that is very near and dear to so many of us," said Reigel. "It is very difficult to find a family that hasn't been affected by this disease, and as a part of the Coaches vs. Cancer organization we hope to continue to raise money and awareness to help find a cure."
University of Wisconsin - Platteville
Jeff Gard enters his seventh year as the head men's basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He was named the 13th head coach in Pioneer history on June 9, 2009, after serving as an assistant with the Pioneers for the previous six seasons including his final two as the associate head coach. Gard won 64 games in his first four seasons at the helm of the Pioneers, the most in school history in a coach's first four years.
In 2014-15, Gard guided the Pioneers to the WIAC Tournament for a 17th-consecutive year. Under his guidance, three players averaged in double figures and the Pioneers put two players (Jake Manning and Jim Stocki) on the All-WIAC first team for the first time since 2009.
"I am pleased to be part of such a great cause," said Gard. "Many of my fellow coaches and friends have teamed up to join in this fight. The support systems, from fans across the state, make it all the more worthwhile to be a part of this cause. I keep thinking that we are going to find a cure for this deadly disease in my lifetime, especially with the help of all the other coaches that are involved and the support of all our great fans."
Justin Meyer was named Edgewood College's head coach prior to the start of the 2012-13 season. He became the sixth head coach in Edgewood College history.
Meyer's second season was one to remember, as he guided the team to the NACC Tournament Championship Game. The Eagles upset No. 2 MSOE 76-70 in the quarterfinals before taking down No. 3 Lakeland 77-76 in the semis. Meyer and the rest of the Eagles came up just short against No. 1 Marian in the championship game, falling 65-61 to end an incredible run.
Prior to being named head coach, Meyer had been on the Eagles' coaching staff for a total of 11 seasons serving at various times as an assistant coach, recruiting coordinator and head assistant coach, before being promoted to the position of associate head coach prior to the 2009-10 season. He was also working as an admissions counselor for Edgewood College. Meyer has been on the staff of all three of Edgewood College's NCAA Tournament teams, including the 2011-12 squad that finished 23-7 and wond the first NCAA Tournament game in school history. Out of high school, Meyer originally planned to attend UW-Eau Claire, before a career-ending knee injury diverted him into a coaching position at Burlington Catholic Central. Meyer is a graduate of the DeVry University School of Business.