Report: U-M Hockey Coach Pearson Lied To Investigators
The Ann Arbor News and MLive is reporting that current University of Michigan head hockey coach Mel Pearson lied to the WilmerHale law firm in its investigation into the program.
Complaints issued by former Michigan goalie and volunteer assistant coach Steve Shields, dating back to 2021, say that:
- Pearson “instructing students to lie on their COVID-19 tracing forms” ahead of the 2021 NCAA Tournament opener in North Dakota.
- Pearson and former director of hockey operations Rick Bancroft discriminated against female staffers and “creating a toxic work environment for female support staff.”
- Pearson retaliating against a student athlete for “raising concerns” about the hockey team’s culture.
- Bancroft knowing about sexual misconduct committed by late UM athletic Dr. Robert Anderson.
The former player that Pearson allegedly retaliated against was former goaltender Strauss Mann, according to the report.
Bancroft retired from the University of Michigan in June. And while he's not under contract, Pearson is still listed as the head hockey coach. Pearson's contract with the school expired after this past season.
Michigan won the Big Ten Tournament and advanced to the Frozen Four this past season before losing to eventual national champion Denver in overtime in the semifinals.
It is unclear as to what will happen to Pearson in light of the report being publicized. U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel told the media "He’s our hockey coach, and I anticipate him being our hockey coach.”
Pearson replaced the legendary Red Berenson as head coach in Ann Arbor back in 2017. He was a head coach previously at Michigan Tech (from 2011-2017), and was an assistant at Michigan under Berenson from 1998-2011.
Pearson played his collegiate hockey at Michigan Tech from 1977-81.