A familiar face is back with the Michigan hockey program.
As he took to the podium on Monday during his introductory press conference, new U-M hockey coach Mel Pearson was standing amongst familiarity. Coming from Michigan Tech, it wasn't exactly the furthest move he could make but it certainly was the most familiar. As a longtime assistant under legendary head coach Red Berenson, little did Pearson know that his career trajectory would forever change by saying the word 'yes.'
Little did he know that become an assistant hockey coach at the University of Michigan would get him to where he is today.
"As a young assistant coach a few years I came down here to apply for a job, little did I know at the time when I got that job how it would change the rest of my life," Pearson said. "When I got that job as assistant coach, I had the opportunity to work at the greatest opportunity in the world. I had an opportunity to be around the best student-athletes in the world. I had the opportunity to coach, in my opinion, with the best college coach there has ever been, coach Red Berenson."
It's not going out on a limb to say that Pearson will have incredible shoes to fill during his coaching tenure in Ann Arbor.
Replacing a legend isn't easy, no matter the circumstance of the transfer of power. However, in this case, it was something that had to be done. U-M performance on the ice had been slipping as of late, now Pearson has been entrusted to turn that around. He's done it once before at Michigan Tech, there's no reason he can't do it again in his old stomping grounds.
Pearson realizes himself that he won't have to do any overhauling this summer, the only changes he will be making are minor.
He also realizes that he has the keys to the car and can now step out of Berenson's incredible shadow he would cast at Yost Arena during every home game.
"We're in great shape here," Pearson said. "I've been given the keys to the prized family car. I've been given the keys, I'm the driver now. The car's in great shape, it's got a great engine and the body looks fantastic. We might have to make a couple of repairs in the summer, minor repairs. Then we're going to get that car ready to go on the road. Come September, that car is headed in one direction and that direction is St. Paul, Minnesota. We're going to get the guys on board and there might be some minor bumps in the road, there might be a couple of detours here and there but we know where we're headed and we've got to find a way to make sure we get that car there. That's my goal, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with these young men."