Jeff Gard is in his fifth year as the head men's basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He was named the 13th head coach in Pioneer history on June 9, 2009, after serving as an assistant with the Pioneers for the previous six seasons including his final two as the associate head coach.
Since his arrival, the Pioneers have participated in-season tournaments in Pasadina, Calif. (2012-2013) Columbus, Ohio (2011-12); Dallas, Texas (2010-11); and Phoenix, Ariz. (2009-10) in addition to the rigors of the WIAC.
He has won 64 games in his first four seasons at the helm of the Pioneers and is the most in school history in a coach's first four years.
Gard has continued the tradition of postseason excellence, having led the Pioneers to the WIAC Tournament and a spot in the finals in 2012-13. As the fifth-seed in the tournament, the Pioneers defeated UW-La Crosse, 60-58, and then upsetted top-seed and 10th-ranked UW-Stevens Point, 60-56. The Pioneers fell to defending national champions UW-Whitewater in the WIAC Tournament Championship Game, 66-55.
The Pioneers opened the 2012-13 campaign with an exhibition contest against Division I University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). The Pioneers fell to the Flames, 56-49, but held a 16-10 lead with just over nine-minutes left in the first-half. UIC used an 8-0 run to take the lead and never allowed the Pioneers to lead again.
Chas Cross was named WIAC and NABC West District Player of the Year as well as NABC first-team All-American. Cross led the conference in points (15.8 ppg.), rebounds (8.5 rpg.), and free throw attempts (137). He ranked second in blocks (46), fourth in field goal percentage (.564), 10th in steals (1.32 spg.) and 13thin free throw percentage (.677) in the WIAC.
In 2010-11, four players averaged in double figures and the team had three separate four-game winning streaks. The squad also won at least 10 games within the friendly confines of Bo Ryan Court.
In his first year, he led the Pioneers to a 14-12 overall record; the third-most wins by a UW-Platteville first-year coach in school history.
During Gard’s six seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, the Pioneers were 103-56, won the 2004-05 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship, beat NCAA Division I Bradley 84-79, earned the school’s first national number one ranking in December 2008 in 10 seasons and made the 2009 NCAA III playoffs, the school’s first berth since winning its fourth national championship in 1989-99. The Pioneers advanced to the second round of the 2009 playoffs, beating Hope (Mich.) 83-59 before falling to host Wheaton (Ill.) 74-69 in overtime.
Gard was an assistant at Lakeland College in Sheboygan for two seasons, helping the Muskies to a 35-18 record and back-to-back Lake Michigan Conference championships.
The Iowa-Grant native and UW-Platteville graduate spent three seasons as an assistant coach at one of Wisconsin’s prep powerhouse’s, Cuba City, under legendary Coach Jerry Petitgoue, and one year at Southwestern High School.
Petitgoue, former Pioneer coach and current Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan, and Paul Combs were cited by Gard as outstanding influences.
Gard graduated from UW-Platteville in May of 2001 with a bachelor’s in Physical and Health Education and earned his Master’s in Education at UW-Platteville in 2005.
He is the younger brother of former UW-Platteville assistant coach and current Wisconsin Associate Head Coach Greg Gard. The son of Glen and Connie Gard of Cobb. Jeff his wife, Amy and daughter Hannah reside in Platteville.