The men’s basketball team aired grievances with the coach in February following a loss to Iowa.
Wisconsin men’s basketball’s seven seniors aired a list of grievances to head coach Greg Gard during a team meeting last February, according to the Wisconsin State Journal‘s Jim Polzin.
The meeting between Gard, the Badgers’ seniors and three assistant coaches reportedly lasted more than two hours, and occurred the day after a 15-point home loss to Iowa. A 37-minute, secret recording of the meeting was sent to the State Journal Monday.
In the recording, which was taped without Gard’s knowledge, one player said he wouldn’t be comfortable recommending the program to future recruits due to a poor culture under Gard’s leadership.
“Last year we were playing for one another, but we were also playing for you,” then senior D’Mitrik Trice said in the meeting. “I feel like the disconnect [this season] is we’re not playing for you right now. We’re not here to build your résumé, so to speak, with all respect given.”
Trice’s sentiment was echoed by the rest of Wisconsin’s seniors.
“I just feel like, coach, we don’t have a relationship,” four-year starter Nate Reuvers said, per the recording obtained by the State Journal. “In my mind, it’s too late for that. I personally don’t think or feel like you care about our future aspirations.
“I can’t talk to you. I just don’t want to talk to you. After this, coach, I don’t know what type of relationship we’re going to have, if we have one.”
Gard did address the players’ concerns, per the State Journal. He reportedly apologized to the seniors at the conclusion of the lengthy meeting, with an anonymous player adding “there was not one dry eye in the entire room.”
Both Gard and Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez released statements Tuesday afternoon. Gard said he was “glad our seniors felt comfortable enough to come forward,” though he noted his disappointment at the recording of the conversation.
“I am incredibly disappointed to find out that a private meeting between seniors from our 2020–21 team and our coaching staff was secretly recorded, edited and made public,” Gard said. “It shows a complete lack of care for our program culture.”
Alvarez added that Gard and his staff have “my full support as they look toward the 2021–22 season.”
Gard has been the program’s head coach since 2015 and has been with the school since ’01, first serving as an assistant coach under Bo Ryan.
Wisconsin lost five of its final eight games after the February meeting. The Badgers reached the NCAA tournament but were eliminated by Baylor in the second round.
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