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U-M hockey coach under fire after investigation uncovers toxic work environment, retaliation, lies

Michigan Hockey
JD Scott Photography
Michigan Hockey

The University of Michigan should take action against men’s hockey head coach Mel Pearson. Those are the recommendations of an independent investigation of misconduct into the program.

In the fall of 2021, a complaint was filed against Pearson and his director of hockey operations Rick Bancroft.

According to a report obtained by MLive, Pearson and Bancroft were accused of “creating a toxic work environment for female support staff” and retaliating against players and staff who spoke out against them. Pearson was also accused of telling students to lie on their COVID-19 tracing forms ahead of the 2021 NCAA tournament.

John U. Bacon, an author and U-of-M historian, says Pearson’s approach to the investigation could be what ultimately leads to his removal.

“The head coach lying repeatedly to the investigators. I don’t see how anybody can maintain an employee like that.” 

According to Bacon, U-M’s interim president, Mary Sue Coleman, is meeting with athletic director Warde Manuel today about the hockey program.

Pearson remains the head coach despite his contract expiring on May 1st.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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