Multiple sources are reporting that Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Tony Granato will be the next head coach at the University of Wisconsin, replacing Mike Eaves, who was fired by the Badgers nine days ago.
Granato was a star player for the Badgers from 1983-1987 and had a 773 game NHL career, playing for the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks.
The entirety of his coaching experience is at the NHL level. Since retiring in 2001, Granato has been an NHL assistant coach, with brief stints as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche in 2003-2004 and 2008-2009. He was an assistant coach for the US Olympic team in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. For the past two seasons, he has been an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings.
We briefly touched on Granato in our list of Wisconsin head coaching candidates, though questioned if he'd be willing to leave the professional game for college hockey. There's no doubt he had the most high-level coaching experience of any of the available candidates, though it remains a question mark how those skills will translate to the college game, which presents unique challenges in terms of identifying talent and roster management. Granato's success will likely hinge on the ability to hire capable assistants to carry the program in that area. If reports are true that the Badgers are able to hire Mark Osiecki and Don Granato as assistant coaches, that would make for a very formidable coaching staff for the Badgers.