New Wisconsin hockey coach goes back to school

Posted at 10:39 PM, Nov 22, 2016
MADISON -- It's back to school for Tony Granato. The new Wisconsin men's hockey coach is balancing the books on the Madison campus while trying to bring the glory back to the Badgers.
Granato played 13 years in the NHL, but this might be one of his biggest off-ice challenges.
Lance Allan: What is it like to be 52 years old and to be in that classroom learning?  
Tony Granato: I think when the whole idea of to go back to school came up I was really nervous. Like, I'm like how am I going to fit in?  I think the biggest thing is you don't want to disrupt the class.
He left Wisconsin 30 years ago, 16 credits shy of his degree.
Lance Allan: So what is it like to walk this beautiful campus after all these years again?
Tony Granato: It's just exciting. You know, like I said, when I started summer school, I was really nervous. It was like the first day of school when you're a kindergartner.
On this day, he attends his racial and ethnic families class.
Lance Allan: How often do you get 'Hey coach, you know good luck this weekend', things like that?
Tony Granato: A little bit. I think this class, this one here especially, is, I'm kind of incognito in there. It's kind of unnoticed.
Wisconsin requires their head coaches to have a bachelor's degree. Yet this is something that drove Granato, like an athlete.
"When the job position became available, and the chancellor said 'hey, you could hire this guy but he's got to get a degree, that's a requirement.' I've always wanted to," Granato said.
He doesn't have worries about his studies like he did before.
"I haven't had those nightmares where I wake up in the middle of the night thinking I missed a test or anything like that," he said. "The ones I used to have back in high school and college"
But it's still competitive with his student athletes.
Lance Allan: Do they challenge you on your GPA as well?
Tony Granato: No. They're hoping that my GPA will help theirs go up higher.  And if I do really well, they're going to include it in our team GPA. So yeah, there's a little pressure on me to make sure I do well.
And while Granato gets to the business of restoring the Badgers past hockey glory, he revels in his office successes.
"Whether you graduate at 52 or 22, to me it doesn't matter," he said. "It's something to be proud of and be excited about."