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Report says Wisconsin is to offer long-term head coaching contract to Greg Gard

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Wisconsin's Greg Gard has been offered the permanent head coaching position, according to reports. This takes some of the stress off Virginia fans.
Wisconsin's Greg Gard has been offered the permanent head coaching position, according to reports. This takes some of the stress off Virginia fans.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Wisconsin interim head coach Greg Gard will be offered the permanent position. If Gard accepts the position, this will end months-long worry from Virginia fans of the prospect of losing Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, at least for now.

Wisconsin, currently receiving enough votes that would place them at No. 26 in both the AP and Coaches Polls, is 20-10 on the season and 12-5 in the Big Ten heading into the regular season finale against No. 15 Purdue. A win on Sunday would guarantee the Badgers a second-place finish in the conference.

Since Bo Ryan retired on December 15, 2015, Gard, as interim head coach, has led the team to a 13-5 overall record, which includes the full conference slate. After a rocky transition into the position, in which the Badgers lost four of Gard's first six games, they went on to rattle off 11 wins in the next 12 contests, with the lone loss coming to No. 8 Michigan State.

Gard's interim coaching tenure has not slid under the radar. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was not shy in endorsing Gard for the position.

Neither was Dick Bennett, Tony's father and former Wisconsin head coach.

He also attracted the endorsement of ESPN's Dick Vitale, CBS Sports' Seth Davis, former Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky, ESPN's Andy Katz, and a slew of others.

As stated in the report, any hiring would need to be approved by UW's Board of Regents, who is scheduled to meet next Thursday.

If true, Virginia fans can breathe a sigh of relief as rumors and fears, whether or not founded, of Bennett leaving Virginia. At least, for this season, anyway.