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Michigan hockey: time to take the interim tag off Brandon Naurato

Coach Brandon Naurato has more than proven himself worthy.



Michigan hockey Brandon Naurato

Seven months ago, head coach Mel Pearson was fired from the Michigan hockey team. The University of Michigan athletic department and athletic director Warde Manuel made this decision after a lengthy investigation of the hockey program. The investigation discovered an incredibly toxic culture throughout the team; that toxicity involved Coach Pearson. Also, there was an investigation on Mel Pearson regarding the potential harassment of female staff members. Since then, Michigan has hired a new head coach: Brandon Naurato.

Michigan hockey made the correct decision on firing head coach Mel Pearson, but the real question was, who would fill that spot? Mel Pearson took an incredibly talented team to be Big Ten Champions and a Frozen Four playoff run.

Michigan had to not only find someone who could take this team on another playoff run and have a good relationship with the players and recruits. This brought them to the decision of naming assistant Coach Brandon Naurato as “interim head coach.”

Brandon Naurato as Interim Head Coach

In the off-season after the 2021-2022 season, the Michigan hockey team lost 14 out of 29 players due to graduation or the NHL. Team 100 was one of the most talented college hockey teams ever. With former Wolverine stars like Matty Beniers, Owen Power, Kent Johnson and Nick Blankenburg off to the NHL, Naurato had to take a nearly brand-new team and attempt to exceed expectations.

With 12 players in the incoming freshman class, this made over half of the team underclassmen. To be exact, 17 of the 27 players on the roster are freshmen and sophomores. Michigan has the youngest yet one of the most talented teams in college hockey.

The Michigan hockey team this season has had its ups and downs; however, that was expected with an inexperienced roster. Still, in his first year as head coach, the team went 24-11-3 and won the Big Ten Tournament against No. 1 ranked Minnesota

He led this Michigan hockey team to another NCAA tournament berth and to make another run at the Frozen Four. Brandon Naurato not only made the team successful on the ice but off the ice as well. The healthy culture has been restored, and this team is all in on each other and their goals.

Why Remove the “Interim” Tag

Brandon Naurato has exceeded any and all expectations as interim head coach. He helped this team achieve what many thought was impossible.

The team loves him, and he loves the team; what better culture can you ask for? He is a fantastic coach, a great recruiter and a players’ coach. The Michigan hockey program is in its best position for the future.

He knows this team and knows the players as he was an assistant prior. Brandon Naurato is undoubtedly the best fit to coach this team. Now it is all in the athletic department’s hands. The best choice to run this team is Coach Naurato. Now, they will need to sign him for the years to come.

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Staff Writer for Blue By Ninety. I'm a lifelong Michigan fan from Ohio. I am currently pursuing a degree in Sport Management at Bowling Green State University. My favorite sports to cover are football and hockey!