Granato settling in as Badgers head coach - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Granato settling in as Badgers head coach

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Tony Granato isn't playing hockey these days. Instead, he's trying to play catch-up.

"We're digging out of a little bit of a hole just from a standpoint we haven't been around as coaches for the last month and a half."

Now that the new Badgers coaching staff is all on the job, they've been juggling office duties with recruiting, which has been an eye-opening experience for the veteran NHL coach.

"The biggest surprise was when you have to go into rinks and watch 14 and 15-year old kids.I can't imagine a 14-year old kid knowing exactly what he wants in five years."

The new staff is off to a good start. They have already a couple big recruits. In addition, Granato insists that, despite just 12 combined wins over the past two seasons, the cupboard is not bare.

"A lot of kids here, just in listening to them and talking to them, haven't set their expectations high enough. Their work ethic has been good, but they've got more in them."

Granato admits he can't just wave a magic wand. However, as one of the highest paid college coaches in the country, results will be expected sooner rather than later. Granato signed a 5-year deal worth $2.75 million. His top assistants, Don Granato and Mark Osiecki, are set to earn $200,000 base salaries. Those contracts show just how serious athletic director Barry Alvarez is about rebuilding the program.

"It has nothing to do with compensation. It's the attitude that Barry has shown from the first phone call that he made to me prior to me getting the job. His commitment, he was all-in."

Granato is also all-in. His contract includes buyout clauses of more than $1 million if he tries to leave at any point.

"This one I want to be the last one. This would be the perfect place to coach for a while and to be part of something that's really special. We've got something special here. I know we do. We've just got to get our product going again. We've got to get the fans back in the building. We've got to get the community behind us. They're there. This is a great hockey town. It's our job as coaches to put a good product on the ice and it's our job from a standpoint of responsibility that we have as alumni and as coaches and as players here to carry on that tradition."

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