Brandon Naurato promoted to interim coach of Michigan Wolverines men’s hockey program

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan promoted Brandon Naurato to interim hockey coach for one season Sunday, two days after cutting ties with coach Mel Pearson following an investigation into the men’s program.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Brandon Naurato’s caliber to lead our ice hockey team for the upcoming year,” athletic director Warde Manuel said.

An investigation that was given to the school in May and obtained by MLive and other news outlets revealed in part that Pearson pressured student-athletes to lie about COVID-19 contact tracing during the 2020-21 season.

Pearson’s contract expired after last season and he had been an at-will employee, pending a review of the program. He was 99-64-16 at Michigan over five seasons.

Last season, with seven NHL first-round draft picks on the roster, Michigan advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. Four of those players were top-five selections from the 2021 NHL draft.

Naurato was on Pearson’s staff last season after he was a player development consultant with the Detroit Red Wings for three seasons. He played for the Wolverines from 2006 to 2009 and played minor league hockey for four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.