Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson met with his team at 3:00 today and was expected to announce his retirement. He did shortly thereafter, according to a release by the school.
BREAKING: @umichhockey coach Red Berenson will address team at 3 p.m. Expectation is he will step down.
— George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) April 10, 2017
Berenson brought U-M the 1996 and 1998 NCAA national championships, the eighth and ninth in school history. His accomplishments behind the bench at Michigan put him among the greatest coaches in college hockey history. He was named 2016 Big Ten Coach of the Year, leading Michigan to a record 36th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, and the 23rd NCAA bid in his tenure at Michigan. U-M finished the season at 25-8-5 (12-5-3-2 Big Ten), the Wolverines clinching the program's first Big Ten Tournament title with a 5-3 win over Minnesota on March 19.
Michigan reached the 25-win mark for the 21st time in Berenson's career and the Wolverines had their highest winning percentage (.724) since the 2007-08 campaign, but U-M lost several players to the pros and finished only 13-19-3 this year, 6-12-2 in the conference.
Former assistant Mel Pearson, now at Michigan Tech, is among those thought to be in the running to replace Berenson.
A press conference will be held today at 4:30 p.m. in the Junge Center with Berenson and athletic director Warde Manuel. The press conference will be carried live on MGoBlue.com, on Big Ten Network and also available via Facebook Live.
"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," Berenson said. "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."
Michigan went 848-426-92 (.654) in the Berenson era.
"Red Berenson is a legendary figure at the University of Michigan as well as in our ice hockey history," Manuel said. "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."
"I deeply appreciate Coach Berenson's decades-long commitment to ensuring that our student-athletes succeeded in all aspects of their lives: on the ice, academically and as citizens and members of our community," President Mark Schlissel added. "He is an excellent representative of our university, and I will always remember seeing him lead our teams behind the bench in Yost Ice Arena."
Under Berenson, the Wolverines have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 23 of the past 27 seasons. His run of 22 consecutive appearances from 1991-2012 marks the longest streak ever in college hockey. In that time, Michigan reached the NCAA Frozen Four 11 times: back-to-back appearances in 1992 and 1993; four consecutive appearances in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998; three consecutive showings between 2001-03, 2008 and 2011. Besides 1996 and 1998, U-M also reached the national title game in 2011, losing 3-2 in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth.
Berenson became the fourth collegiate ice hockey coach to record 800 career victories, reaching the milestone with a 7-5 win vs. Minnesota on Jan. 10, 2015. Berenson’s 848 victories place him fourth on the NCAA ice hockey coaches all-time win list. He stood behind the U-M bench for the 1,000th time of his career on Feb. 22, 2008 at Michigan State.