MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan announced Monday that the school has hired Gary Close, a former assistant at the University of Iowa, to be an assistant with the Badgers. Close replaces Tony Bennett, who took an assistant coaching job at Washington State.

“From the first time I met Gary at Stanford, I knew he was someone with exceptional teaching and coaching skills,” Ryan said. “We have been friends since that time and stayed in close contact with each other, discussing various team and individual concepts that convinced me that he would be a great colleague to work with. The University of Wisconsin will benefit greatly from his addition to our staff and we are looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

Close, 46, has spent the last three years as the head coach of Regina High School in Iowa City, leading them to two state tournament appearances, and as the Director of Basketball Operations for Championship Productions in Ames, Iowa.

Prior to that, he spent 13 years as an assistant at Iowa under Tom Davis. During that time, the Hawkeyes made nine NCAA tournament appearances, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice and the regional final once. At Iowa he coached 13 future NBA choices including B.J. Armstrong, Roy Marble, Acie Earl, Ricky Davis and Ryan Bowen. A renowned shooting coach, Iowa shot better than 48.0 percent from the field five times during his tenure, including a school-record .528 in 1987-88.

“This is a terrific opportunity for me to be back in the Big Ten and coach for someone who I have a tremendous respect for,” Close said. “My family and I are excited to be joining the Badger family.”

Close was also an assistant for three years under Davis at Stanford. In his first season, Stanford won 19 games, the most at the school since 1961-62. He was also part of the staff that was responsible for recruiting the Cardinal’s all-time leading scorer, Todd Lichti.

A veteran of a number of international tours, Close served as the assistant to Davis on a Pac-10 all-star team that toured Australia in 1985. During the summer of 1995, he and fellow Iowa assistant Rich Walker served as co-coaches for a Big Ten all-star team on an eight-game tour in Europe.

Under Close’s direction in 1996, the People-to-People Sports team became the first American team to win the Malgrat International Tournament in Malgrat, Spain. In 1997, Close coached a team comprised of current and former Iowa players to a perfect 6-0 record on a six-game tour in Germany.

A native of Moorestown, N.J., Close earned a bachelor’s degree in business-agricultural (1978) and a master’s degree in physical education (1982) from Arizona State.

-compiled from staff reports