This was a long time coming, but for many in the Michigan Wolverines hockey family it will still hurt. On Monday, long-time U-M head coach Red Berenson announced that he will retire.
It comes after 33 seasons at the helm of the Wolverines hockey program. A 33-year span that included two national championships and 11 Frozen Four appearances on the national stage. Berenson also led his team to 11 CCHA regular season and nine CCHA tournament titles.
However, since the formation of the Big Ten conference things have gone down a bit for the Michigan program. Berenson’s team was successful at first, but as his teams got younger they also struggled to compete at the top of the conference.
This announcement at this time seemed just about right — and Berenson said so himself.
“I’ve thought about this for a long time and I think this is the right time and it’s the right thing to do for the Michigan hockey program,” said Berenson in a press release. “My heart will always be at Michigan and I look forward to the team taking the next step and making me proud as a former coach.”
To that end, Berenson will remain on with the program as a special advisor to athletic director Ward Manuel. He’ll likely play a key role in finding a successor, given his long history and success in the collegiate hockey game.
“Red Berenson is a legendary figure at the University of Michigan as well as in our ice hockey history,” said Manuel. “Throughout his career, Red has focused on the academic and athletic success of the young men who have come through our program while shaping the sport as we know it today. He has developed an astounding 73 NHL players but, more importantly, he has positively impacted hundreds of young men. We are forever grateful for his contributions to the University of Michigan and I look forward to continuing working with Red for years to come.”
The Wolverines were in shambles when Berenson took over at his alma mater, leading Michigan to a 848-426-92 (.654) record over the last 33 years.
He is just the fourth NCAA men’s hockey head coach to reach the 800-win plateau.
As for his replacement, one would have to look no further than his former assistant Mel Pearson. He’s turned once-dormant Michigan Tech in to a NCAA tournament team in his six years in Houghton, Mich.
However, today is about celebrating one of the greatest coaches to ever grace a collegiate hockey bench. The college hockey world certainly won’t be the same without him and the state of Michigan hockey has been forever changed by his 33-year run.