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Tony Granato photo

Tony Granato was 20-15-1 in his first season as head coach at UW.

The University of Wisconsin's Tony Granato is one of 10 finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award as Division I men's hockey's coach of the year.

Granato, who led the Badgers to the brink of the NCAA tournament in his first season, qualified as a finalist because he was named the Big Ten Conference's coach of the year.

That award qualified him for a bonus of 2 percent of his $400,000 base salary, or $8,000.

Winning the national award when it's announced on April 5 would change that to a 5 percent bonus, or $20,000.

The Badgers were picked to finish fifth in the six-team Big Ten in Granato's debut but surprised many with second-place finishes in both the regular season and playoffs.

A 12-victory improvement over the 2015-16 season ranked third-best in Badgers history, and UW trailed only four teams nationally in terms of winning percentage improvement.

Finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, presented by the American Hockey Coaches Association and voted on by its members, include the coach of the year from the six Division I men's leagues and the coaches of the teams that make the Frozen Four.

This year's list also includes UMass Lowell's Norm Bazin, Union's Rick Bennett, Harvard's Ted Donato, Notre Dame's Jeff Jackson, Denver's Jim Montgomery, Western Michigan's Andy Murray, Minnesota Duluth's Scott Sandelin, Bemidji State's Tom Serratore and Canisius' Dave Smith.

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