One of the NCAA’s most successful coaches attributes his program’s prowess to a step-by-step, day-by-day process that stresses fundamentals.
Greg Gard UW-Madison men’s basketball coach, spoke at the Waunakee Rotary Club meeting Aug. 25 about his approach to coaching, stressing that the culture plays a large role, as well.
Greg is Rotarian Kathy Cefalu’s first cousin, and he joked that the meeting was two members short of a family reunion.
In introducing her cousin, Kathy cited his many successes over the years as assistant coach and coach, which include Sweet 16 appearances and four Big 10 season titles.
Greg was a longtime coach under his successor, Beau Ryan, both at Madison and Platteville.
He’s a busy guy, spending his time on speaking engagements while his players take the month of August off after the summer school session.
Greg said he was invited to be the grand marshal at the Corn Boil Parade in Cobb, Wisconsin, where he was raised. His father recently died of brain cancer, and before the parade, he showed up for what he thought would be a donation from the fire department, where his father volunteered, to the American Cancer Society. But the fire department surprised the family with a new street sign: “Gard Way” in Cobb.
“Actually, it’s a dead end,” Greg joked.
Then, on a more serious note, he added it was an honor to have all of the tragedy and devastation culminate in a tribute to his father.
Gard said it’s very special to have the chance to coach in his home state. Following a such success, expectations will be high in the 2016-17 season, he said. Just about the whole team will return..
“I get asked how I will be able to get the team pointed back in the right direction,” Greg said. “If you surround yourself with good people, and you have a plan, great things can happen.”
The culture at UW-Madison also stresses the importance of academics, Greg added. Understanding and sharing that culture is important, he said, adding that some of the coaches are former Badgers.
He has three assistant coaches who help with the recruits, including Joe Krabbenhoft, whom he picked for an assistant after seeing the number of players Krabbenhoft had recruited for South Dakota State as coach there.
“He relates very well to our players,” Greg said. “He came through this culture and he came through this program.”
It seems as if Greg is looking forward to another successful season. The schedule was due out that afternoon, but the first game will be Nov. 11 at home.
Other news:
•Phil Simon has “We Support Our Waunakee Police” yard signs available. He is seeking donations for the department’s new K-9.
•Prizes are needed for the Wauktoberfest silent auction, Phil Willems said.
Guests: Scott Schmitz and Linda Schmitz, guest of Jim Schmitz; Rodney Gard, Mark Cefalu and Cole Cefalu, guests of Kathy Cefalu; Barb and, Mike Guenther and Jody Pulvermacher, guests of Bob Pulvermacher; David Stronach, guest of Scott Cochems; Cameron Hayko and Linda Ziegler, guest of Ken Ballweg; Mike Adler, guest of Phil Willems; Michael Homgarner and Josh Satzer, guests of John Cullen; Jeamie Holm, guest of Mick Holm; Ken Statz and Jim Siriani, guests of Dan Statz; Gretchen Johnson, August Johnson and Kevin Johnson, guests of Roxanne Johnson; Tyler Knowles, 3rd proposal for membership; Michale Blodgett, 2nd proposal for membership; Adam Baker and Ryan Knight, guests of Joe Olson; Ophelia Whitley, guest of Sara Whitley
Visiting Rotarians: Kyler Kobat, Lake Mills; Jim Sirianni, Madison Horizon.
Greeters: Sept. 1,Tasha Chambers and Scott Cochems; Sept. 8, John Cullen and Al Dassow; Sept. 15, Lori Derauf and Shana Dunn.