Michigan announced Friday that men’s ice hockey coach Mel Pearson will not return for the 2022-23 season. Following an investigation into Pearson’s treatment of players and staff, the university chose to part ways with him.
Pearson’s contract expired earlier this year, and he has been working as an at-will employee throughout the investigation. After reviewing the results of the probe into the program, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced that Pearson is out as head coach.
“It has been determined that Mel Pearson will not return as our ice hockey coach,” Manuel said in a statement. “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.
“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. I deeply appreciate and value the many individuals who came forward throughout this review.
“Today’s announcement reflects the seriousness with what we’ve heard and the values we hold dear at Michigan.”
Pearson was accused of telling players to falsify contact-tracing information on COVID-19 forms, misleading recruits about how much scholarship money they would receive, berating and belittling players and staff, and not properly addressing accusations of improper treatment of female employees by director of hockey operations Rick Bancroft, per a report from The Athletic.
Pearson also allegedly forced former Michigan goaltender and captain Strauss Mann off the team after he brought up concerns about the culture of the program.
The head coach at Michigan for seven seasons, Pearson compiled an overall record of 99-65-16. In 2022, the Wolverines reached the Frozen Four under Pearson.