HOUGHTON — Michigan Tech athletic director Suzanne Sanregret today announced that the contract of hockey coach Mel Pearson has been extended. Five years has been added to his original five-year agreement, meaning that Pearson is signed on through the 2020-21 campaign, which is coincidentally Michigan Tech’s 100th season of intercollegiate hockey.
“Our goal is to bring the hockey program back to national prominence,” said Sanregret. “There are many pieces to that, but finding the right coach is a critical component. Coach Pearson has demonstrated his commitment to this program. He’s brought in top-quality student-athletes and built a solid foundation. We needed this contract to continue the progress we’ve made in returning Michigan Tech hockey to an elite level.”
Pearson returned to his alma mater in 2011-12, guiding the Huskies to 16-19-4 mark and appearance in the WCHA Final Five. He was named WCHA Coach of the Year for helping Tech quadruple its wins total from the year before.
During his three seasons, Pearson has guided Michigan Tech hockey to 43 victories and the program’s best three-year stretch in 20 years.
“Our sports teams bring a lot of enthusiasm to campus, and our hockey program is our flagship,” said Michigan Tech president Glenn Mroz. “We really want to build this program to last. You need a coach who’s going to be around because the coach has so much influence in recruiting quality student-athletes. A long-term contract for Coach Pearson says to recruits, alumni and the community that we’re committed to making our hockey program the best it can be.”
Pearson led the Huskies to a sweep of Michigan State and a Great Lakes Invitational title game appearance a year ago. Tech compiled a 12-11-5 record in WCHA play, marking the program’s first winning mark in league play since 1992-93.
Other highlights of Pearson’s tenure include: a GLI Championship in 2012—Tech’s first in 32 years of hosting the holiday tournament; five wins over top-five-ranked opponents; and a surge in offensive production (2.72 goals per game over the last three years compared to 1.88 the three years prior).
“Hockey’s incredibly important to our campus, community and alumni,” said Les Cook, Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement at Michigan Tech. “When I’m on the road meeting with alums and friends of the University, the first question they ask is, ‘How’s the hockey team?’ It’s a huge plus to have a robust, vibrant hockey program.”
Expectations for the 2014-15 Michigan Tech hockey season are high with all nine of the team’s top point producers returning from a year ago. The team boasts four National Hockey League draft picks and nine players who attended NHL development camps over the summer.
“I want to thank Glenn, Les and Suzanne for their support in giving me the opportunity to continue on as the hockey coach at Michigan Tech,” Pearson said. “I’ve really enjoyed my experience here as a player, assistant coach and now head coach. I look forward to the continued growth and development of the program.”
(Information Courtesy of MTU Athletics)