Applications show Alvarez passed on former pros to hire Gard
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez passed over two applicants with extensive NBA experience in making interim basketball coach Greg Gard the permanent replacement for former coach Bo Ryan, according to application materials obtained through an open records request.
The university on Friday released the cover letters and resumes of 51 applicants who allowed those documents to be released publicly. Gard was among them, as well as Lindsey Hunter Jr. and Henry Bibby, both former NBA players who won league championships.
Hunter was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors during the 2013-14 season and the interim head coach for the Phoenix Suns in 2013. A 1993 lottery draft pick, he played with five NBA teams and won championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002 and the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
He wrote in his cover letter that he could be a ''recruiting dynamo'' for Wisconsin because he has maintained strong relationships with AAU programs around the country, and even offered to supply a list of top players from the class of 2016 that would likely follow him to Madison.
''I expect this trend to continue for years to come as I have proven to be a basketball authority for young basketball players and their parents,'' Hunter wrote.
Bibby played with four NBA teams in the 1970s and won a championship with the New York Knicks in 1973 in his rookie season. He coached men's basketball at the University of Southern California from 1996 until 2004, and has served as an assistant coach with the Pistons and the Memphis Grizzlies. He also is the father of 14-year NBA veteran Mike Bibby. The materials released did not include his cover letter.
Gard, a longtime Ryan assistant, took over as interim coach in December after Ryan abruptly retired. Gard led the Badgers to a 13-6 record during the rest of the regular season. That was good enough for Alvarez, who has the power to hire and fire coaches, to name Gard the permanent coach Monday. Three days later, the Badgers lost to Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament.
Asked why Alvarez passed over Hunter and Bibby for Gard, Wisconsin athletics spokesman Brian Lucas said in a one-sentence email that the athletic director thought Gard was the best candidate. He did not elaborate.
Other applicants included an array of coaches from multiple levels, from small colleges to grade school, as well as a number of joke applications.
One was a season ticket holder who said he deserved the job because he's learned how to assist referees in making calls from his seat. Another attached a photograph of Donald Trump to his application, saying he would bring the presidential candidate's winning attitude to Wisconsin.
Still another said he deserved the job because he finished five seasons on the NBA Live '97 video game, met a former player in a bar and delivered pizza to another former player twice.
Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1