Michigan Names Pearson New Coach
CHN Staff Report
Current Michigan Tech head coach Mel Pearson is headed back to Michigan.
Pearson was named head coach of the Wolverines, replacing Red Berenson, who stepped down two weeks ago after 33 seasons. Pearson was his assistant for 23 of those years before leaving in 2011 to become head coach at his alma mater, Michigan Tech.
He will be formally introduced at a news conference today at 2 p.m. (ET).
"I am very honored and proud for this opportunity to be the next head coach at Michigan," Pearson said. "I am looking forward to continuing to build upon the rich and successful tradition of Michigan hockey.
"I would like to thank President Schlissel, Warde Manuel and my long-time mentor and friend Red Berenson for entrusting me with this opportunity. I spent 23 years here and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ann Arbor. I am excited to be back and am looking forward to meeting the team and getting ready for next season.
"Lastly, I would like to thank the former players, alumni and fans that have reached out to me with encouragement."
According to the Tech Hockey Guide, Pearson owes Michigan Tech $250,000 for leaving before his contract expired.
In the six years since Pearson took over, the Huskies have made the NCAA tournament twice, starting with a 29-win season and at-large bid in 2014-15. Tech won the WCHA regular-season title in 2015-16 but didn't make the NCAAs, then won the league tournament this past season to again qualify for the national tournament.
"Mel has proven that you can win at Michigan Tech," MTU athletic director Suzanne Sanregret said. "This is an opportunity for us to continue to grow and advance our historic program, and we will begin a national search for his replacement immediately."
Pearson was part of the staff at Michigan that won two national championships and made the Frozen Four 11 times.
"I think Mel is a great fit for Michigan hockey," said Berenson, who remains at Michigan as an advisor to Manuel following his retirement from coaching earlier in the month. "He knows the program well from his time here, and I think he is exactly what Michigan hockey needs to be successful."
A four-year letter-winner with Michigan Tech from 1977-81, Pearson had 56 points (21-35) in 97 career games and helped the Huskies win the WCHA playoff tournament and the Great Lakes Invitational as a senior in 1980-81. A native of Flin Flon, Manitoba, Pearson moved to the United States as a youth and played hockey at Edina (Minn.) High School before making his way to Houghton.
Pearson’s coaching career began in 1982 when he served as an assistant coach with the Huskies under head coaches Herb Boxer and Jim Nahrgang.
Internationally, Pearson was as an assistant coach with the 1996 U.S. National Junior Team at the World Junior Championship, helping guide Team USA to a silver medal-winning performance.