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Wisconsin's Bo Ryan to retire next year, names Greg Gard, not Tony Bennett, the heir apparent

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

For the past few years, as Virginia fans have watched their men's basketball program rise under the leadership of head coach Tony Bennett, one thing has lingered in the back of many of their minds: how long can we keep him?

After all, Virginia fans can't have nice things, right? (Note: the answer is wrong. Virginia fans have three national championships to celebrate this year!)

And for those who have been wondering, the most glaring potential hostile bidder for Virginia's Tony Bennett would be Wisconsin. Badgers' head coach Bo Ryan, at age 67, is not getting any younger. It's a program that already runs with the pack line defense that Bennett's father and he developed and perfected, so there wouldn't be any major overhaul required to the system. And of course, Bennett hails from Wisconsin - anyone who's listened to him speak in person or at a press conference can pick up on that accent. He undoubtedly drinks pop, not soda or coke.

Coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances, Ryan released a statement this afternoon that he'll be sticking around for one more year before retiring.

Don't panic, Wahoo fans. Ryan has a proposed plan in place.

"Back in the spring," Ryan said in a statement, "in the days after the national championship game, (athletic director) Barry Alvarez and I discussed the possibility of me retiring. I've always been told that is not a decision to make right after a season is completed. Barry thankfully encouraged me to take some time to think about it and I have done that. I considered retiring this summer or coaching one more season."

And here comes the great news:

"I've decided to coach one more season with the hope that my longtime assistant Greg Gard eventually becomes the head coach at Wisconsin. I am looking forward to another year with our program, including our players, my terrific assistant coaches, our office staff and everyone who supports Wisconsin basketball here in Madison, around the state and across the country."

So there you have it, Virginia fans. Rest easy as Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard is named the heir apparent to the Badgers' men's basketball program.

...of course, the question now remains, what other poachers are out there, lurking, trying to lure Bennett away? And of course, the obvious question, how much weight will Alvarez place on Ryan's wishes? After all, Virginia fans can't have nice things, right?

Wisconsin Men's Basketball tweet and statement follows: