Michigan hockey names Brandon Naurato interim head coach, replacing Mel Pearson

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Michigan athletics named Brandon Naurato as the interim head coach for the hockey program on Sunday.

Naurato spent last season as an assistant under U-M coach Mel Pearson. The school announced Friday that Pearson would not be retained after a report by the law firm WilmerHale concluded that Pearson lied to investigators and helped foster a toxic culture within the program.

A Livonia native who played at Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Naurato spent three seasons as the Detroit Red Wings' player development consultant, working at the NHL and AHL levels.

Naurator played under at Michigan under legendary coach Red Berenson from 2005-09, and had 32 goals and 64 points over 130 career games.

"I am honored to lead my alma mater and will give everything I have to what is the most storied program in college hockey," Naurato said in a released statement. "I want to thank Warde Manuel and our student-athletes for their trust and look forward to working positively with our talented coaching and support staff."

After his college career, he played four years professionally in the ECHL, IHL and CHL. He then created the Total Package Hockey facility in Detroit, starting the first online hockey academy in the U.S.

"We are fortunate to have someone of Brandon Naurato's caliber to lead our ice hockey team for the upcoming year," Manuel, the Michigan athletic director, said in a released statement. "I had conversations with many individuals who care greatly about this program and appreciate the insight they shared. Brandon will do a great job leading the program, and I look forward to our student-athletes and staff benefiting from his leadership."

Last season, Michigan won the Big Ten tournament and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Wolverines advanced to the Frozen Four before falling to Denver in overtime, 3-2, in Boston.

U-M opens next season on Oct. 7 at home against Lindenwood.

Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan hockey names Brandon Naurato interim head coach