Assistant coach Gary Close leaving Badgers after 13 seasons

Wisconsin men’s basketball assistant coach Gary Close is leaving the program after 13 seasons (started in 2003) under Bo Ryan and Greg Gard.

Close, 59, is not sure what the future holds, but wants to find more flexibility for his family.

“Being an assistant coach at the Division I level is an increasingly demanding position,” Close said in a statement. “While I plan to keep basketball a part of my future plans, I do want my next professional stop to provide me with greater flexibility to spend more quality time with my wife and two growing children.”

Close has been known as a great basketball mind and shooting coach at UW. Highly respected by players, his assistance will be missed by the program.

In terms of candidates I see fulfilling his spot, I think the Badgers could use a great recruiter, but I figure Gard will go with a familiar face in Wisconsin. Candidates that come to mind who fulfill this criterion are former Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter, South Dakota State assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft, UW-Plateville head coach Jeff Gard (Greg’s brother), Lindenwood University head coach Lance Randall, former Lindenwood University assistant coach and Germantown High School head coach Steve Showalter (yes, Zak’s father), Holy Cross assistant coach Freddie Owens, and Milwaukee assistant coach Sharif Chambliss.

And why not former Badgers and NBA star Michael Finley? He could be a great recruiter, although he has no coaching experience. He made a recent return to Wisconsin during the Illinois game and was honored.

Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin State Journal archives.

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