PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Don Granato, who has spent the last five years as a head coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, has resigned to accept a position as associate head coach of the University of Wisconsin men’s ice hockey program. Granato rejoins his alma matter where, as a player, he was a four-year letter winner (1987-91) and a member of the 1990 NCAA Division I national champion Badgers.
“Don has played an important role in the advancement of hockey in our country through his role with our National Team Development Program,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey. “He's a terrific teacher and more importantly a caring, career coach. We wish him nothing but the very best."
Granato spent the 2015-16 season at the helm of the U.S. National Under-17 Team and last year, led the U.S. National Under-18 Team to a gold-medal finish at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men's World Championship in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland. Previously, he served behind the bench helping the United States earn a silver medal in the 2013 IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship in Sochi, Russia.
Other significant successes in Granato's tenure include one World Under-17 Hockey Challenge title (2014) and one second-place finish in that same event in 2012.
Accolades during Granato’s NTDP tenure also include having coached the only U.S. National Under-17 Team to go undefeated in regulation (16-0) versus international opponents (2013-14 season). The next season (2014-15), that same group went on to record the highest overall win percentage (.788) by a U.S. National Under-18 Team in NTDP history.
A native of Downers Grove, Illinois, Granato also helped guide the U.S. National Junior Team as an assistant coach at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“Don’s accomplishments here speak for themselves,” said Scott Monaghan, senior director of operations at the NTDP. “He won titles at every major event we participate in and helped develop numerous players into top draft picks. It’s a real tribute to how Don molds players that two of the guys from his first team were playing against each other in the NCAA Tournament as captains of their respective teams.”
A nationwide search for Granato’s replacement is underway.