Mel Pearson

"I'm anxious to get out on the ice rink and get going, I think the sky's the limit for this team."

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Coach Bio

Mel Pearson has been named the University of Michigan's head coach of ice hockey, as announced today (Monday, April 24) by Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. Pearson, who becomes the ninth head coach in program history, returns to Ann Arbor after previously serving 23 seasons as an assistant coach for the Wolverines.

Pearson returns to Ann Arbor following an impressive six-year stint as head coach at Michigan Tech. There, he led the Huskies to two NCAA Tournament appearances in the last three years while winning a WCHA regular-season title and a WCHA Championship in that span. Pearson registered a 118-92-29 overall record, including a 75-34-14 mark over the past three seasons.

Under Pearson's leadership, the Huskies finished the 2016-17 season ranked in the top 20 for a third consecutive year, all of them featuring 20-win campaigns. Pearson also earned two WCHA Coach of the Year honors in his time at Michigan Tech, which claimed the program's first-ever No. 1 national ranking on Nov. 17, 2014.

Pearson served as a Michigan assistant coach from 1988-89 through 1998-99 and as associate head coach from 1999-2000 through 2010-11. He played an integral role in developing the Michigan program into one of the most successful in the country, being heavily involved in the Wolverines' recruiting effort and helping land the core of its 1996 and 1998 NCAA championship teams. Over the course of those 23 years, the Wolverines posted a 667-243-71 record while capturing 11 Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season titles, nine CCHA Tournament crowns and two NCAA championships (1996 and 1998) in addition to making 11 NCAA Frozen Four appearances.

After he helped Michigan to the 1999-2000 CCHA regular-season championship, Pearson was awarded the Terry Flanagan Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association, which honors an assistant coach's career body of work. Pearson also served as a coach with the 1996 United States World Junior Championship team, helping the Americans to a silver medal.

As a collegian, Pearson was a four-year letterwinner at Michigan Tech (1977-81), where he appeared in 97 games, accumulated 56 points (21 goals, 25 assists) and helped capture the WCHA Tournament and a Great Lakes Invitational titles as a senior. Ironically, Pearson's most "famous" goal was scored against the Wolverines in the championship game of the 1979 Great Lakes Invitational. He broke a 4-4 tie at 2:28 of the third overtime to give the Huskies the GLI title. The game still stands as the longest in the 43-year history of the tournament.

After earning his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1981, Pearson remained at his alma mater to serve as an assistant ice hockey coach on the Huskies' staff from 1982-88.

The Flin Flon, Manitoba, native comes from a hockey family. His father, George "Mel" Pearson, played 15 seasons of professional hockey with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and with Minnesota of the World Hockey Association. His brother, Ted, played for the University of Wisconsin and spent time in the Calgary Flames organization.

Pearson and his wife, Susie, have two daughters, Kim and Sarah, and a son, Paul.

Fun Fact

Coach Pearson previously spent 23 years behind the bench at Michigan as an assistant under Red Berenson before gaining head coaching experience at Michigan Tech.

Career Highlights

  • Two NCAA Tournament Appearances at Michigan Tech
  • Awarded the WCHA Coach of the Year honors twice in his six years at Michigan Tech
  • Served as Assistant Coach on Michigan's 1996 and 1998 NCAA DI National Championship teams
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Assistant Coaches

Bill Muckalt

Associate Head Coach

Bill Muckalt enters his first season as associate head coach for the University of Michigan ice hockey team in 2017-18; being named to the position in the summer of 2017.

 

A four-year letterwinner (1995-98) and two-time national champion at U-M, Muckalt returns to his alma mater after spending the past two seasons as head coach and general manager of the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. Prior to his stint with the Storm, Muckalt served as an assistant coach at Michigan Tech for four years under Pearson after a successful career in the NHL.

 

“Billy has had great success everywhere he has coached,” Pearson said. “Having won two national championships, he is familiar with the winning tradition of Michigan hockey. Billy will be a great addition to our staff, and I’m extremely excited to be bringing him back to Ann Arbor. Our players will really benefit from his experience and knowledge of the game”

 

“I am humbled and privileged to be back at Michigan — it’s a special place,” said Muckalt. “I’m excited to work with Mel again and looking forward to working with Brian (Wiseman), Steve (Shields) and the rest of the staff. I can’t wait to start getting to know our student-athletes and helping them develop and help them reach their dreams and goals. I look forward to embracing the tradition and enriching the future of Michigan Hockey.”

 

The Muckalt File

» In his two seasons with Tri-City, Muckalt’s team recorded 49-46-16-9 record and captured its first Clark Cup in franchise history during the 2015-16 season.

» During the 2015-16 championship season, Muckalt’s team went on a franchise-record 13-game point streak and ended the playoffs with the most goals scored and fewest goals allowed in the USHL.

» Muckalt became the fifth coach in Tier-1 history of the USHL to win a championship in the first season as head coach, joining current Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill.

» In 2014-15 alongside Pearson, Muckalt helped guide Michigan Tech to a 29-10-2 record, which was tied for the most wins in college hockey, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies earned their first No. 1 national ranking since 1976 while boasting the largest goal differential in NCAA DI, with a 1.80 goals against average and 3.51 goals per game.

» Previously held head coaching positions at the junior level with the Valencia Flyers of the Western States Hockey League (2009-10) and New Mexico Mustangs of the North American Hockey League (2010-11).

» Began his coaching career at Eastern Michigan with its American Collegiate Hockey Association DI team in 2006-07 before moving up to head coach the following season.

» Had a five-year NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild. Muckalt tallied 97 career points (40 goals, 57 assists), with his most productive season coming as a rookie with Vancouver when he posted 16 goals and 20 assists in 73 games.

» Over his four-year career at U-M, helped the Wolverines to 133 wins and two national championships while posting 105 career goals and 226 total points. Ranks seventh in program history with 226 points, sixth in goals (105), and ninth in assists (121). Earned All-America first team honors and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist during senior season in 1997-98.

» A Surrey, British Columbia, native, Muckalt graduated from Michigan in 1998 with a degree in sports management and communications.

Brian Wiseman

Assistant Coach

Brian Wiseman was hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater in the summer of 2011. His duties include evaluating and recruiting future players, developing on-ice practice plans and implementing in-game strategies.

 

Wiseman returned to Michigan after spending the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach for the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros, a Minnesota Wild affiliate. Wiseman helped the Aeros reach the Calder Cup final after a second-place division finish. He also served as an assistant coach at Princeton University in 2003-04. Wiseman was a video coach for the Dallas Stars in 2002-03 with head coach Dave Tippett and served as the Michigan ice hockey team’s administrative assistant in 2000-01 and ’01-02.

 

During his collegiate hockey career, Wiseman was a standout center for the Wolverines from 1990-91 to 1993-94. In 166 career games, he racked up 348 points, which ranks third all-time for the program, and his 164 assists are second-best. An inductee of the U-M Deker Blue Line Club Hall of Fame, Wiseman is one of just seven U-M players to notch 50 assists in one season (1993-94). He was a member of U-M’s first CCHA regular-season championship team (1991-92) and its first CCHA Tournament winner (1994), and he won a second CCHA regular-season crown in 1993-94.

 

Wiseman’s four years at Michigan started the school’s streak of 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, a national record. His teams reached the 1992 and 1993 Frozen Four. As a senior captain, he led U-M in scoring (19-50-69), was voted a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, earned All-America first team, and picked up All-CCHA first team recognition. He led off his career by garnering CCHA Rookie of the Year in 1990-91 when he tallied a 25-33-58 line, the second-highest point total by any Wolverine freshman. He was also picked for the CCHA All-Rookie team.

 

A selection by the New York Rangers in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft (12th round, 257th overall), Wiseman appeared in three NHL games, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1996-97. He had six strong seasons between the IHL and the AHL. In 446 career minor league games, he totaled 515 points on 145 goals and 370 assists. In 1998-99, he was the IHL’s leading scorer and Most Valuable Player while leading the Aeros to the Turner Cup. He also captained the Aeros in 1999-2000. Wiseman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education.

 

A native of Chatham, Ontario, Wiseman and his wife, Brandee, reside in Ann Arbor with their two daughters Chloe and Cameron.