Jeff Gard returned the University of Wisconsin-Platteville to conference, regional and national prominence in 2017-18, his ninth season as head coach of the Pioneers.
Gard guided the Pioneers to a 24-5 overall record, a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship (12-2) and an NCAA III Sweet Sixteen appearance. The Pioneers won their 20th league title in their rich history and made the NCAA III playoffs for the 11th time, reaching the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth time.
The Pioneers beat Monmouth 91-76 and St. Olaf 81-76 in the first two rounds of the national playoffs before being edged 79-78 by Nebraska Wesleyan.
Gard is known not only for his work on the court but also within the community for his generous efforts of being a servant leader. Whether it be though his team’s community service within the Tri-State are or his newest adventure in the fight against cancer, Gard is doing his best to assist those in need. His family’s most recent adventure has taken place in “Garding Against Cancer” and the “Iowa County Cancer Coalition”, to help with the fight against cancer right within the state of Wisconsin. All money raised remains in Wisconsin — working to find a cure, advance treatment options, and promote the welfare of patients.
During his eight years as head coach, Gard has compiled a 139-100 record and begins the 2018-19 campaign 28th all-time in WIAC victories. He has had eight players surpass the 1,000-point plateau. He has also coached two All Americans, including junior Robert Duax in 2017-18. Duax also earned WIAC Player of the Year honors. Chas Cross was named the 2013 WIAC and NABC West District Player of the Year, as well as NABC first-team All-American.
Since his arrival, the Pioneers have participated in-season tournaments in Colorado Springs (2017-18), San Antonio, Texas (2015-16), Raleigh, NC (2014-15), Las Vegas, Nev. (2013-14), Pasadena, Calif. (2012-2013) Columbus, Ohio (2011-12); Dallas, Texas (2010-11); and Phoenix, Ariz. (2009-10). This year, the Pioneers return to Las Vegas over the holiday break.
The Pioneers have faced off against three Division I opponents: University of Illinois-Chicago (2012), University of Wisconsin (2013 and 2016), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2014).
Gard 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. Within a short amount of time Gard made history by winning 64 games in his first four seasons at the helm of the Pioneers, the most in school history in a coach's first four years. 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 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 University of Wisconsin Head Coach Greg Gard. The son of Connie, and the late, Glen Gard of Cobb. Gard and his wife, Amy, daughter Hannah and son Vincent reside in Platteville.