It seems that Michigan fans have gotten their wish: Mel Pearson, the obvious candidate to replace Red Berenson and a longtime Michigan assistant before coaching at his alma mater for six years, has agreed to return to Ann Arbor and take over in Red Berenson’s stead - this according to a report by ESPN’s John Buccigross.
Sources tell me Mel Pearson is the new Head Coach of @umichhockey. He succeeds Red Berenson. pic.twitter.com/VYN9nw9glK— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) April 23, 2017
Pearson was a key part of Red’s success at U-M, handling recruiting (considered a very important job and a sign of great talent evaluation) as well as administrative and tactical functions. Michigan’s defense and power play have since declined under Red with Pearson gone.
At his alma mater Michigan Tech, Mel Pearson turned around a struggling program and took the Huskies to two NCAA tournament appearances with two conference tournament titles from 2014-17. His record in those three seasons was 75-34-14, compared to 43-58-15 in his first three seasons and a far cry from the 292-638-87 mark under its past six coaches combined.
Mel was reportedly on the fence about leaving for Michigan. “I enjoy where I’m at, have great support here (at Michigan Tech) and obviously we got the program turned around, but Michigan’s Michigan so we’ll see what happens,” Pearson said.
This also marks a big win for Michigan’s A.D. Warde Manuel, who built a reputation for good hires at UConn but has gotten a lukewarm reception by Michigan fans since his hire.
A good football comparison here would be Brady Hoke to Jim Harbaugh; the style of play will be similar between Red and Mel, the cupboard is somewhat stocked with intriguing talent, and recruiting has remained steady despite some down years on the ice. Mel will need to get the Wolverines back to their winning ways by getting more development and sacrifice out of the guys already on campus and re-energizing the locker room and the culture.
We wish the best for Mel Pearson and are looking forward to watching him turn this program around in the coming years.