The Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame today announced that Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball coach Bo Ryan and Green Bay Packers all-time leading wide receiver Donald Driver have been selected for induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame’s 65th Anniversary Class. The pair join 135 of the state’s greatest athletic icons, including Vince Lombardi, Hank Aaron, Oscar Robertson, Barry Alvarez, Al McGuire, Bud Selig, Junior Bridgeman, Willie Davis, Herb Kohl, Bart Starr, Ab Nicholas, Bob Harlan, Fred Miller, Alan Kulwicki, Robin Yount, Bonnie Blair and Bob Uecker in one of the country’s most historic halls of fame.
Ryan and Driver will be inducted during a special event celebrating their distinguished careers and contributions to athletics in Wisconsin on April 30th, 2016 at the historic UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, the site of the first Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame induction event in 1951. Tickets to the one-of-a-kind celebration event, which will be attended by Ryan, Driver and past Hall of Fame inductees, are available for as little as $15. Tickets are on sale now at the Milwaukee Theatre Box Office, the Wisconsin Center Rotunda, select Walmart stores, 1-800-745-3000 or online here.
On hiatus since 2009, the revival of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame has been made possible through the support of community partners Associated Bank, the Official Bank of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, West Bend Insurance and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“When I started my career as a seventh round draft pick from Alcorn State, I never envisioned myself being in any hall of fame, let alone one that is filled with great names like Hank Aaron and Vince Lombardi,” Driver said. “To join this special group of people that have meant so much to the state of Wisconsin is a dream come true. I can’t wait to celebrate with the fans on April 30th.”
"I’ve been living and coaching in the state of Wisconsin for nearly 40 years and I’m proud to call this home,” Ryan said. “I’ve followed all of our state’s teams very closely over the years and come to admire the passion and success we’ve all shared. With the names and accomplishments of the people in the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, it’s truly an honor to be associated with the legends or our state who have been so impactful in sports.”
“Bo and Donald are the embodiment of what Wisconsin athletics are all about,” said Brian Lammi, Executive Director of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame LLC. “Hard work, dedication, love for the game and a deep appreciation for the fans all come to mind when you think of these two. We couldn’t ask for a better way to re-launch the Hall of Fame and we hope Wisconsinites will come and show their support for these two men who have given so much to sports in our state.”
Donald Driver’s induction comes after a record-setting 14 year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers. A seventh-round draft pick in 1999, Driver set the franchise’s all-time marks for career receptions (743) and yards (10,137) and has more 1,000 yard seasons (seven) than any other player in franchise history. A four-time Pro Bowl performer, Driver is widely considered to be one of the best receivers of his generation. In 2010, Donald helped lead the Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, earning Donald his first Super Bowl ring and the Packers a record 13th world championship. With an ever-present smile and inspirational story of overcoming poverty and homelessness as a child, Driver remains one of the most popular players to ever wear a Packers uniform.
Entering his 15th season as head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team, and 32nd season as a head coach in the state of Wisconsin, Bo Ryan has worked tirelessly to grow the game of basketball across the state. As the coach of UW-Platteville, Ryan led the school to a 353-76 overall record while guiding the program to the highest winning percentage (.908) of any school in college basketball during the ‘90s. Ryan also steered the Pioneers to unprecedented tournament success, winning four Division III national championships while compiling a 30-5 NCAA Division III tournament record. After two years at UW-Milwaukee, Ryan took over as the head coach of the Badgers and firmly established both himself and the program among the best in the country. During his tenure, Ryan’s Badgers have won a school-record 357 games, seven Big Ten titles and made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including back-to-back Final Fours in 2014-2015. In 2015, Ryan took home his fourth Big Ten Coach of the Year honor, trailing only Purdue's Gene Keady (7) and Indiana's Bob Knight (5) for the most conference coach of the year awards.
The Wisconsin Athletic Walk of Fame, located on 4th Street in Milwaukee’s downtown sports and entertainment district, contains bronze plaques commemorating the 135 members of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. The Walk of Fame is free and open to the public 365 days a year.