A familiar face will be tasked with replacing legendary coach Red Berenson behind the bench at Michigan. On Monday morning, Michigan officially announced that Michigan Tech head coach Mel Pearson will be the next head hockey coach at Michigan.
Pearson served as an assistant coach under Berenson for 23 years before departing for his alma mater in Michigan Tech to gain head coaching experience for the day when Berenson finally retired.
Pearson found relative success in Houghton, winning more than 20 games each of the past three seasons, and making the NCAA Tournament in two of the last three seasons. But ultimately, the draw of leading a major college program was too much to keep Pearson in Houghton.
We wrote two weeks ago about the importance of this hire for Michigan, and for new athletic director Warde Manuel. I doubt anyone will have any major complaints about this hire. At the time, it seemed like a long shot that Pearson would be the guy, but as the search progressed, the desire to go for the safer choice in Pearson became stronger, especially thanks to the input of Berenson in the coaching search. At Pearson’s age, he’s likely not a long-term hire for the Wolverines, but should have more than enough time to return the Michigan program back to stable footing after the downward slide of the past few seasons.
No announcement was made on the staff that will be working with Pearson, nor were length or financial terms of his contract. Pearson’s contract with Michigan Tech required a $250,000 buyout, which should be a nice bit of money for the Huskies to start their coaching search, though likely comes as bitter consolation today.