News and Notes

Green Bay fires Will Ryan

UW-Green Bay has decided to move on from head coach Will Ryan with a little over a month remaining in the 2022/2023 season. 

Ryan was fired Tuesday after going 15-61 overall in a little under three seasons as the head coach of the Phoenix. Green Bay is 2-18 (1-9 HL) this season and is one of the worst teams in the country in nearly every major statistical category, including the NCAA’s NET ranking where they sit 360 out of 363 teams.

The Phoenix are 355th in KenPom.com’s offensive efficiency and 362nd in defensive efficiency. The team suffered the two largest home losses in the program’s history, being blown out by 32, 21, 16, and 34 respectively during a four game homestand at the Resch Center over the past two weekends.

Ryan joined the Phoenix in June of 2020 during the height of the pandemic replacing Linc Darner, who was fired the month prior. Ryan went 8-17 (8-12 HL) during his first season largely with players inherited from the previous regime before mass roster turnover the following offseason. The team finished 5-25 (4-16) last season.

Ryan and his staff landed several highly regarded high school prospects from Wisconsin but was unable to land enough impact players via the transfer portal or junior college ranks to compete with the mainly older, more experienced rosters of today’s college basketball.

“I want to sincerely thank Will Ryan and his family for their contributions to the men’s basketball program these past three seasons,” UWGB athletic director Josh Moon said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Assistant coach Jared Swanson has also left the program according to the team’s official website. Freddie Owens will lead the team the rest of the season as the interim head coach.

Ryan had three years still remaining on his contract and was making $175,000 per season at Green Bay and will be owed the full amount – roughly $525,000.  The university is still paying Darner’s $720,000 buyout from May of 2020.

According to the statement, Green Bay has enlisted the services of Parker Executive Search as it looks for its next head coach. The Phoenix did not use a search firm for the previous coaching search under former athletic director Charles Guthrie, who is now at Akron.  The finalists back in 2020 were Ryan, Bradley assistant Jimmy Foster, Virginia assistant Brad Soderberg, and Notre Dame assistant Rod Balanis.

“UW-Green Bay is committed to continuing its legacy as an outstanding Division I athletics program in the future,” Moon said, “and Phoenix men’s basketball needs to help lead the way as we work to elevate all of our programs and be a shining light for this region and beyond.”

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