As Bo Ryan retires, NBC15 takes a look at what he was like off the court

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Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 --- 10:17 p.m.

MADISON, Wisc. --- We've learned a lot about Bo Ryan over the years, as his career has spanned Platteville, Milwaukee and Madison.

But, few people know him like a retired UW wrestling coach does.

Former UW wrestling coach Duane Kleven says he and Bo Ryan go way back.

"We ran in the first Crazylegs run together," Kleven says.

That was more than 30 years ago.

"Bo had longer legs and he was younger than I did, so he no doubt beat me in the run," he says.

But, it was something else.

"He does other things well besides coach basketball," Kleven says.

That really connected the two of them.

"Since Bo's a veteran and I'm a veteran, why, we probably talk more about military than we do about athletics when we get together," he says with a smirk.

Bo Ryan was a military police officer during the Vietnam War. That dedication to service is why Kleven believes Bo donated $10,000 for a veteran memorial.

"Bo has a soft spot in his heart for the military, and we're happy about that."

The memorial is coming soon to Middleton.

"There are a number of pillars with veterans who have been killed all the way from back to the Civil War, to Vietnam, to Afghanistan."

And although he says neither of them was in combat, they both respect those who have.

"We've both spent time with people who have been under fire, and you have such an appreciation for the sacrifices that some of those people have made for our country, and I think Bo has a real appreciation for that, and I do too," he says through tears.

Born in 1947, Ryan has admitted that he always knew about the possibility of military service.

He told the Wisconsin Veterans Museum a few years ago that his father received a Bronze Star in World War II, and his uncle was an Army ranger in the Korean War.