Greg Gard was formally introduced as Wisconsin's basketball coach Tuesday.
"This is an extremely special moment for me, our family," Gard said at Tuesday's news conference. "But I think just special for the state of Wisconsin, from the standpoint of being one of their own, that's been able to trek through their career at various stops around the state, and to ultimately be in this position to be able to lead your home state institution's flagship school into the future."
Gard, who served as interim coach this season after Bo Ryan stepped down, signed a five-year deal that was approved by the school's board of regents on Monday.
"The last 24 hours ... has been surreal," Gard said. "Everything has been moving so fast in terms of our focus on the season and trying to work one day at a time, that you never got too caught up into what was going to happen ... in the future."
Gard, 45, was promoted following Ryan's sudden retirement announcement Dec. 15. The Badgers were 7-5 at the time but finished 20-11. During Gard's three months in charge, Wisconsin notched wins over Maryland, Michigan State, Iowa and Indiana.
"You don't have to be a great basketball person to see the improvement as the season went along," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said Tuesday.
Wisconsin will face the winner of the Nebraska-Rutgers game Thursday in the Big Ten tournament. Gard had coached with Ryan for 23 seasons at Wisconsin-Platteville, Milwaukee and Wisconsin. He has spent his past 15 seasons in Madison with the Badgers.