Darron Cummings, Associated Press
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan reacts to a call during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game against Kentucky Saturday, April 4, 2015, in Indianapolis.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan plans to retire after next season, looking to pass the torch after molding the Badgers into a national power during his 14 seasons in Madison.

Ryan made the surprising announcement on Monday, and added that only some cajoling from athletic director Barry Alvarez kept him from calling it a career in April after Wisconsin lost to Duke in the national title game.

"I've always been told that is not a decision to be made right after a season is completed," the 67-year-old Ryan said in a statement issued by the school. "Barry thankfully encouraged me to take some time to think about it and I have done that."

Ryan said it is his hope that longtime Badgers assistant Greg Gard is chosen to succeed him.

Whoever gets the job has some awfully big shoes to fill. In his 14 years, Ryan cemented himself as the fire-breathing face of Wisconsin basketball.

Ryan is 357-125 (.741) as coach of the Badgers and has taken the program to the NCAA tournament in every one of his seasons on the bench.

The Badgers reached a crest over the last two seasons, topping last year's Final Four run by beating undefeated Kentucky in the national semifinals this season before losing to Duke in the championship game.

The Badgers have won four Big Ten titles and never finished lower than tied for fourth in the conference during his tenure.

Before Ryan took the Wisconsin job, he spent 15 years at Wisconsin-Platteville and two seasons at Milwaukee.

"I am looking forward to another year with our program, including our players, my terrific assistant coaches, our office staff and everyone who supports Wisconsin basketball here in Madison, around the state and across the country," Ryan said.