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Touching Tribute: Roy Williams Leaves NCAA Finals Seat Empty in Memory of Bo Ryan’s Late Father (Pic)

by: Esteban On  Tuesday, April 7, 2015

roy williams tribute to butch ryan

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan took his dad, Butch, to the Final Four every year. And every year without fail, Butch was the life of the party. In fact, Bo liked to joke that his dad was more well-known among college basketball royalty than he was. And this was probably true, because all the big shots in college basketball really did adore Butch Ryan.

Sadly, Bo Ryan’s biggest fan never got to see his son coach in the Final Four. Butch Ryan passed away at the age of 89 back in August of 2013. The very next season, Bo’s Badgers finally got over the hump and reached their first Final Four. Then they went and did it again this year, only they took things one step further this time, knocking off a supposedly unbeatable Kentucky team to reach the Finals against Duke.

Obviously, Butch would have been thrilled to watch his son coach for a Division I Championship against anybody. But the fact that his first time came against Duke was fitting. Back in 1998, after Ryan coached Division III UW-Platteville to a 30-0 National Championship season, Butch photobombed the team photo, holding up a sign that read “Bring on Duke!” So the fact that the Badgers were actually taking on the Blue Devils for the 2015 National Championship was pretty special.

The significance of the occasion certainly was not lost on North Carolina coach Roy Williams. Prior to the game, he announced that he would leave one prime, front row seat empty as a tribute to Bo Ryan’s late father.

Now that is class.

Hat Tip – [SB Nation]