April 18, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Pearson Turns Down Michigan Tech Offer

CHN Staff Report

Mel Pearson, thought to be the frontrunner for the head coaching vacancy at Michigan Tech, turned down his alma mater and will remain an assistant coach at Michigan.

Pearson, who played at Michigan Tech from 1977-81, has been an assistant coach at Michigan under Red Berenson for the past 23 years.

Michigan Tech, one of five current Division I head coaching vacancies, has been looking for a coach since firing another alumnus, Jamie Russell, last month. The Huskies went just 4-30-4 this past season, and have won just 15 games in the past three years. The program has had just one winning season since 1993, and hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1981, Pearson's senior year, when it finished third, the year before the legendary John MacInnes retired.

There are no other leading candidates for the position at this time.

"Mel's staying with us," Michigan coach Red Berenson told the Detroit News late Monday. "They went after him hard. I gave him my blessing. It's his alma mater. He'd get some (head coaching) experience. He called me (Sunday) and said he was staying."

Pearson, 52, collected 21 goals and 56 points in 97 games for the Huskies. He also became well-known for scoring the winning goal at 2:28 of the third overtime in the 1979 Great Lakes Invitational championship game, a game that still stands as longest in the tournament's history.

Pearson remained at his alma mater as an assistant coach from 1982-88 before moving to Michigan.

When the job opened in 2003, there was thought Pearson would be interested then. But he opted to stay at Michigan, where many believed he was high on the list to succeed Berenson. Instead, the job went to another alum, Jamie Russell. But eight years later, Berenson is still going.

Pearson also had an opportunity to go to Miami in 1999, but ultimately took himself out of the running for the job that eventually went to Enrico Blasi.

In 2000, Pearson was awarded the Terry Flanagan Award 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 U.S. World Junior team.

Pearson's father, George "Mel" Pearson, played 15 seasons of professional hockey with the NHL's New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, and with Minnesota of the World Hockey Association. His brother, Ted, played college hockey at Wisconsin and spent time in the Calgary Flames organization.

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