For one, his long-time assistant, Billy McKeever, decided to step down after 15 years sitting alongside of Granelli on the bench with the women's basketball team. Another was the fact that Granelli and his wife of nearly 40 years, Elizabeth, had permanently moved from their long-time home in Kearny to Bradley Beach, so the commute from the Jersey Shore to Jersey City every day would eventually become a major chore.
So the idea of retirement was pounding in Granelli's brain over and over during the course of the last few months.
"I was trying to figure out the best time to go," Granelli said. "I knew it was going to be sometime soon. It just had become more and more difficult to do my job. I really wanted to coach one more year, but then I decided that this would be the best."
So with that, Granelli handed in a letter of retirement to SPC athletic director Bill Stein, ending his remarkable 32-year career as a coach at Harvard on the Boulevard. For the longest time, Granelli was both the head men's soccer coach and women's basketball coach, but relinquished the soccer coaching duties in 1989 to concentrate on the demands of women's basketball.
But it is as a women's hoop coach that Granelli made his biggest mark. During his tenure at SPC, Granelli won 607 games and lost just 249 over his incredible career, becoming only the ninth coach in the history of NCAA Division I women's basketball to reach the 600-win milestone - and the lone male coach.
Granelli is also one of only three coaches to win 600 games at one school, joining Hall of Fame coaches Pat Summitt of Tennessee and Jody Conradt of Texas.
"I guess it's better to leave one year early than one year too late," Granelli said. "It was a good time for me to go. People were trying to convince me to stay one more year, but it's time. I have nothing but great memories. I can sit back and relax a little. It was a really good run."
Granelli didn't want to think about just how remarkable of a coaching career he had, winning nine Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships and seven trips to the NCAA Tournament. The Peahens won 20 or more games in 19 of Granelli's 32 seasons and he only experienced one losing season since 1974.
"I usually don't do that, but now, sitting down and reminiscing, I guess it was a pretty remarkable feat,' Granelli said.
What made Granelli's accomplishments even more extraordinary was that he was able to produce most of those winning teams while serving as a part-time employee at SPC. Granelli was a full-time physical education teacher in the Hoboken school system until his retirement eight years ago, and then became a full-time coach at St. Peter's.
Granelli said that he thought about his retirement in the same manner that his all-time hero handled his many years ago.
"When I was a kid, my uncle lived in the Bronx, and he took me to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees, so, of course, I became a Yankee fan," Granelli said. "My favorite player was Lou Gehrig and my favorite movie was 'Pride of the Yankees.' I didn't know the difference between Lou Gehrig and Gary Cooper (the actor who portrayed Gehrig in the Academy Award-nominated movie). I thought they were one and the same. It's the only movie that I'll watch over and over again because I like the ending."
Wait a minute. A basketball coach who hasn't watched "Hoosiers" more than once? Is that possible? A father of five who hasn't seen "The Wizard of Oz" a handful of times?
"I have a rule of mind that if I've seen it and know the ending and know what happens, then I don't need to see it again," Granelli said. "But in that movie, I love the ending, when Lou Gehrig said he was the luckiest man in the world."
Added Granelli, "Well, you know what? I could be in that same position. I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I've been very fortunate with the career I've had. I have a tremendous wife and great children. I have five grandchildren now. Sure, getting 600 wins was something. It really is nice to reminisce about it. I had a lot of fun."
Granelli said that he will remember the players he was able to coach over the years, the coaches he worked with.
"I was very lucky to have some great players who will always be etched in my memories," Granelli said. "We always had good camaraderie. I was also fortunate to have some loyal assistant coaches. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity and so thankful to the so many people for the success we had."
Granelli said that he leaves the Peahen program in good shape. His successor, who he hopes is long-time assistant and former player Stephanie DeWolfe, will inherit a junior-dominated team that should be highly competitive in the MAAC this season.
"I know I'm leaving the program in good hands," Granelli said. "We have a good group here. I think they'll be disappointed that I'm leaving. Of all the teams I've had, this one was the closest to me. I've become like a father figure to them. I'll miss the camaraderie with the coaches and the interaction with the players more than anything else. I never thought it was a chore to come to work and I still don't think it is."
Will there ever be a time when Granelli feels what he's been able to accomplish was something of epic proportions? After all, he was the last of a breed, a two-sport coach on the big-time college level. He was able to do it as a part-time coach, which made it even more remarkable.
"I never looked at anything I've done as being remarkable," Granelli said. "But there will be a day when I look back and say, 'How the hell did we do that?' I just thought I had something to do and I got it done."
For 607 wins in women's basketball and another 160 wins on the soccer field. Harvard on the Boulevard had a true coaching gem in Mike Granelli, one that won't ever be replaced.