University of Michigan parts with hockey coach Mel Pearson following investigation into team culture

Pearson accused of retaliating against players, allowing women within program to be harassed

Head Coach Mel Pearson of the Michigan Wolverines watches the action from the bench during the championship game against the Michigan Tech Huskies during the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament on day two at Little Caesars Arena on December 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Dave Reginek, 2019 Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan is parting with head hockey coach Mel Pearson following an investigation into the program’s culture under his watch.

Pearson has been Michigan’s coach since the 2017-2018 season, when he took over for Red Berenson. He went 99–65–16 across five seasons and led the Wolverines to two Frozen Fours.

A recent investigation into Michigan’s hockey program revealed evidence of misconduct by Pearson during his tenure. He was accused of retaliating against players who raised concerns about the team, allowing women within the program to be harassed, and encouraging players to lie about COVID contact tracing, according to the investigation.

“It has been determined that Mel Pearson will not return as our ice hockey coach,” Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel said. “This decision has been weighed heavily and for some time. We welcomed an independent third-party review into the climate and culture of our program before furthering our assessment in lockstep with campus leadership.”

Many questioned Michigan’s inaction throughout the majority of the offseason, wondering why a decision wasn’t made much sooner after the season ended in April.

“Our student-athletes having a positive and meaningful experience is of paramount importance, and a clear expectation within our department is that all employees and staff are valued and supported,” Manuel said. “I deeply appreciate and value the many individuals who came forward throughout this review.”

Pearson’s five-year contract expired after last season, but his future remained up in the air for months. The decision was ultimately made Friday (Aug. 5) to terminate his employment.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.