Michigan’s Mel Pearson Shown the Door

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.

4 thoughts on “Michigan’s Mel Pearson Shown the Door”

  1. Michigan has hired assist coach Brandon Naurato as interim head coach for this upcoming season.

    A full hockey coaching housecleaning was more than appropriate here, however, practicality has obviously prevailed. It’s basically too late in the summer to do a new full coaching search. Naurato & Co will have the upcoming year to prove themselves, and Michigan can either keep them on as coaches or not, depending on what happens.

    Had the Wolverines fired Mel back in May when the WilmerHale report was delivered (which they should have done), they could have had the coach of their choice by now – it’s a great gig – a great tradition, a huge budget, very few road games, first-rounders galore, a full house every weekend with all the Big 10 atmosphere. It’s a job that could attract all kinds of excellent candidates…

    Anyway, I’m glad Mel is gone. The man clearly was proven to be a coward (the WMU debacle), a liar and an enabler (proven in the report) and did not deserve to stay, despite his on-ice and recruiting success. Michigan AD Warde Manual should probably be fired too. But since Football is on the upswing at Michigan (and that sport stirs the drink at Michigan), he stays…

  2. This confirms my suspicions when I read that Michigan had 6 or 7 first round draft choices signed. That was a absolute UNHEARD of event. No other team has ever come even close to that number.

    It smelled . I reeked with illegal suspicion. Also, not good for college hockey. This is not Alabama football.

    Plus and a huge big plus—we beat them in Boston

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