Pearson Changes Mind, Accepts Michigan Tech Job
CHN Staff Report
Mel Pearson, a long-time assistant at Michigan, has been named head coach at Michigan Tech, his alma mater. Pearson has spent the last 23 seasons on the Michigan coaching staff. He was an assistant coach from 1988-89 through 1998-99 before being promoted to associate head coach to start the 1999-2000 campaign.
“I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” said Pearson. “Michigan Tech was the school that gave me my first chance not only as a player but as a coach, and I’m looking forward to working with the University, alumni and community in bringing back the winning tradition. I want to thank the University of Michigan, Dave Brandon, Coach Berenson, Coach Billy Powers, the hockey staff and the players who have all made my 23 years in Ann Arbor a truly great experience. It will always be a special place for me and my family.”
Michigan Tech initially spoke to Pearson over two weeks ago, but he turned down their offer to become head coach. Since then, Pearson decided to reconsider.
"It is a good opportunity for Mel to get a head coaching job at his alma mater," said head coach Red Berenson. "He's been a great asset to the Michigan hockey program in his 23 years of service. We're going to miss him but part of this whole process is to help people move up and develop into head coaches. It's an opportunity that he decided was right for him."
Pearson was awarded the Terry Flanagan Award in 2000 by the American Hockey Coaches' Association, which honors an assistant coach's career body of work. Pearson also served as a coach with the 1996 United States World Junior Championship team, and helped the Americans to a silver medal, the country's second-best finish at the event.
As a collegian (1977-81), Pearson collected 56 points (21-35-56) in 97 games, helping Michigan Tech to a third-place finish at the 1981 NCAA Championship. Ironically, Pearson's most "famous" goal was scored against the Wolverines in the championship game of the 1979 Great Lakes Invitational.
After earning his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1981, Pearson remained at his alma mater to serve as an assistant ice hockey coach on the Huskies' staff from 1982-88.
The Vancouver, B.C., native comes from a hockey family. His father, George "Mel" Pearson, played 15 seasons of professional hockey with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and with Minnesota of the World Hockey Association. His brother, Ted, played for the University of Wisconsin and spent time in the Calgary Flames organization.
Pearson and his wife, Susie, have three children - Kim (25), Sarah (22) and Paul (19).