Press Releases

Former Wisconsin Coaching Legend Bo Ryan and Wife Kelly make $500K donation to American Cancer Society
Feb 27, 2018
Coach who led Badgers to the Final Four in 2014 and 2015 Creates Research Fund and Issues Challenge to Wisconsin Community; Fundraising Gala on April 7 in Madison

Madison, WI – February 27, 2018 – Former University of Wisconsin-Madison men’s basketball coaching legend Bo Ryan and wife Kelly Ryan have created the ‘Coaches vs. Cancer Bo Ryan – Jay Holliday Families Fund,’ with an initial investment of $500,000 to fund American Cancer Society research in honor of their long-time friend Jay Holliday, who passed away from cancer last month.

“We are incredibly grateful to Bo and Kelly Ryan for their decades of support of Coaches vs. Cancer and the Society, and this very generous donation. Every single day we are attacking cancer from every angle, and we will continue investing in critical research to help fight cancer,” said Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer for the American Cancer Society.

Ryan, who compiled a 747-233 overall coaching record and led the Badgers to back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2014 and 2015, was the former college roommate and long-time friend to Holliday, a high school football coaching legend and athletic director in New York who died of pancreatic cancer in January, 2018.

“Jay Holliday was an incredible person, a wonderful coach and educator and my best friend for more than 50 years,” said Ryan. “We wanted to do something special to celebrate his life, and do something meaningful in his name to help fund more research, and help the American Cancer Society create more research breakthroughs. While he is no longer with us, we are honoring him and hoping that the everyone in the University of Wisconsin community can get involved and help this research grow even bigger so we can fight cancer.”

Bo Ryan and wife Kelly Ryan have created the ‘Coaches vs. Cancer Bo Ryan – Jay Holliday Families Fund’, with an initial investment of $500,000 to fund cancer research. The funds have been directed to the American Cancer Society through the Coaches vs. Cancer program, which Bo and Kelly Ryan were significantly involved in for over 10 years, raising over $6 million while he was the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he led the Badgers from 2001 to 2015, compiling a 364-130 record along the way.

The Ryans will be attending the 11th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Gala on April 7 in Madison, and issue a challenge to attendees to help match their donation to fund research conducted at the Carbone Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  For more information on this event or to donate to this fund visit