The applications are in, the interviews are over, and the decision has been rendered. Mel Pearson has been named as the next head hockey coach for the Michigan Tech Huskies. "Michigan Tech has a lot of good things to sell players and recruits," said Pearson during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. "There are a lot of kids that would love to play at Michigan Tech and those are the guys we have to find. They've got to want to be here and want to be proud to put on that jersey."
Pearson becomes the new bench boss for Michigan Tech after spending 23 seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Michigan (1988-2011), gaining the title of Associate Head Coach in 1999. During his tenure at U of M, he assisted head coach Red Berenson in guiding the Wolverines to a record 21 straight NCAA playoff appearances, 11 Frozen Fours, three championship game appearances (including 2011), and two NCAA National Championships (1996, 1998). In 2000, he was recognized by the American Hockey Coaches Association which awarded him the Terry Flanagan Award, the top honor for the career work of an assistant coach.
Additionally, the Wolverines won the CCHA regular season title 10 times and the Mason Cup as CCHA playoff champions on 9 occasions.
"I've already been busy recruiting", said Pearson joking that, "Suzanne was golfing on the weekend, while I was in an ice rink. I love recruiting, I love being in the rinks, I like dealing with the players and their parents, and I have a passion for that."
Pearson was quick to add, "I'm not throwing this next year away for the seniors. We have a chance to do some good things next year. I can't tell you how many wins, and I can't tell you what place we're going to end up in, but I do not want to put ceilings on this team. I want to raise the bar high, and we're going to try and get to that bar."
Pearson’s ties to Michigan Tech go back to his playing days, when the Vancouver, BC native played 97 games over four seasons for the Huskies, putting together a respectable career stat line of 21 goals, 35 assists, and 56 points, and helping the Huskies to a third place finish at the 1981 Frozen Four (then ‘Final Four’). Pearson's most notable goal was, ironically, scored against the Wolverines in the championship game of the 1979 Great Lakes Invitational. His tally at 2:28 of the third overtime period broke a 4-4 tie, and gave the Huskies their eighth GLI title. After graduating from Tech with a degree in Business Administration in 1981, he joined the Huskies’ coaching staff as an assistant under coaches MacInnes, Nahrgang, and Boxer, until accepting the job with the Wolverines in 1988.
"We have to be positive with the team. I met with the team and they are eager to win...they don't want to lose games, they want to win games. It all starts with this summer - we have to work harder than anyone else is. I know it's cliche, but we really do."
When asked about his playing systems, Pearson replied, "I'm going to try and let these guys play with the puck more and be more offensive, but when we don't have it we're going to be the hardest working team without the puck and play solid defense."
Tech Hockey Guide congratulates Coach Mel Pearson on his new position, and wishes him nothing but the best of luck in meeting the new challenges that he will soon face. We would also like to thank Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret and President Mroz for their tireless efforts in evaluating candidates and reaching a strong decision for the future of the Michigan Tech Hockey.
Photo Credit: Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com