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Michigan Men's Hockey Coach Accused of Berating Staff, Misleading Recruits and Retaliating Against Team Captain


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In responses to an anonymous survey of the University of Michigan men’s hockey program’s players and staff, coach Mel Pearson was accused of telling players to provide false information on COVID contact-tracing forms, of misleading recruits about how much scholarship money they would receive, and of allegedly calling one player a “Jew.” Pearson also displayed an “inability or unwillingness” to hold the team’s director of hockey operations accountable for conduct that included the “mistreatment of female staff members,” according to a separate investigative report.


In the survey and the investigative report, the latter of which was compiled at the behest of the university by law firm WilmerHale, several individuals said that they believed that Pearson forced Strauss Mann, a 2021 team captain and starting goaltender, to leave the program. A summary of the survey stated that several respondents believed Mann was ousted in “retaliation for trying to address and improve the team’s culture.” At least three athletic department employees also shared that viewpoint with WilmerHale investigators, who in their findings wrote that they did not find Pearson’s account of his interactions with Mann credible.


Both the summary and the WilmerHale report also state that players and staff worried they would face retribution if they spoke out about wrongdoing.



In February, when asked about the WilmerHale probe by The Michigan Daily, Pearson said: “I feel very confident that the allegations will be proved wrong.”



The anonymous survey, according to two people who spoke to WilmerHale investigators, was administered “because no one was willing to speak on the record about issues in the hockey program, including gender discrimination concerns, for fear of retaliation,” the report states.



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Sounds like he was a nasty piece of work. Nobody wants to deal with a guy running the show who every day is a douchebag.


Small point in his defense having had a son go through NCAA D2 football recruiting and a friend who was the head coach of a D1 mid major basketball program; every college coach lies to recruits and their parents during the recruiting process. They do it because they're telling my son and 3 other guys of roughly equal use to them they have this much $ available to them for scholarships but they want an answer RIGHT NOW. And it changes day to day as they fill out their roster and budget. The phonecall you got on Tuesday while you weigh their offer is a very different call on Wednesday morning when somebody else accepted roughly the same offer.  If you're gonna hang a college coach for that, there are going to be a lot of firings. 

Edited by Bugg
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