It took an outside investigation and eventual leak to The Athletic and other media outlets to finally throttle an attempt by the current University of Michigan athletics director, Warde Manual, to renew the contract of embattled hockey head coach Mel Pearson. Pearson was fired when the details of the Michigan internal investigation went public.
Pearson’s future with the Wolverines had been hanging by a thread for 97 days. In a stunning turn of events, Manuel actually wanted to retain the embattled coach and was attempting to sign him to a contract extension earlier last week before the details of the report were released by a Michigan insider and an expose was published in The Athletic by Katie Strang. The University of Michigan Board of Regents followed two days ago by canning Pearson on a vote of 8-0, and interim president Mary Sue Coleman signed off with the board.
The complaint filed by the a Michigan volunteer goaltending coach identified a culture that condoned harassment by Pearson’s direct reports to female employees within the athletic department and with the direct knowledge of the head coach. Pearson also instructed his players to lie on COVID-19 forms ahead of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Michigan had positive tests arise once they arrived in Fargo for their regional games and ultimately had to withdraw from the tournament due to COVID policies. A former player, Strauss Mann, also reported violations to University officials but exited the program due to the fear of retaliation. The assistant goaltending coach, Steve Shields, was fired earlier for his complaints about the toxic culture within the Wolverines program.
Denver sent #1 seed Michigan back to Ann Arbor with a 3-2 defeat April 7th in the Frozen Four semifinals.
No replacement has yet been named for Pearson.