Michigan names Brandon Naurato permanent head coach
Michigan hockey needed someone to come in and save the season after former coach Mel Pearson was let go following the 2022 season.
The Wolverines hired former Michigan hockey player Brandon Naurato on an interim basis to fill the void for the 2023 season. Not only did the season go well for the Wolverines, but Naurato also led the maize and blue back to the Frozen Four where they will take on Quinnipiac.
On Friday, Michigan announced Naurato would lose the interim tag and become head coach. The specifics haven’t been confirmed, but it will be a five-year deal.
Here is the official press release:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Warde Manuel, the University of Michigan’s Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, announced Friday (March 31) that Brandon Naurato has agreed in principle to an agreement to serve as the permanent head coach of Michigan hockey. Details of Naurato’s five-year contract will be finalized and communicated following the completion of the Frozen Four.
“I am thrilled that Brandon Naurato will continue to lead our ice hockey program, and it is with that knowledge that I am incredibly excited for the future of this storied program,” said Manuel. “Simply put, Brandon has done a phenomenal job with this team over the past year. In his first year as the Head Coach, Brandon has kept his focus on the success of our student-athletes and staff who support the program…and the results of his leadership are clearly evident. He leads with positivity and with vision and has demonstrated his capability to lead at a high level. I look forward to watching the program sustain great success under his leadership.”
“I’m extremely honored to be officially named the head coach of Michigan Hockey,” Naurato said. “Michigan holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I met my wife and where I started my family. It’s where I want to be for a long time. I want to thank Warde Manuel and the administration for their support and trust with this program. I’d also like to thank the Michigan alumni and our incredible fans for their unwavering support throughout the season. We’re going to continue on what we’ve been building and I’m looking forward to putting more of my stamp on Michigan Hockey and elevating it from where I found it. The ultimate goal is and always will be to win while simultaneously cultivating the student-athletes’ individual and group identities, on-ice skills, mental health and leadership skills. Our staff will take pride in preparing these young men for the game of life and they will leave our program better men — Michigan Men. Go Blue!”
Named a finalist for the 2023 Spencer Penrose Award, given annually to the CCM/AHCA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Coach of the Year, Naurato has guided the Wolverines to the Big Ten Tournament Championship and a spot in the Frozen Four, where they will face off against Quinnipiac at 8:30 p.m. on April 6 in Tampa, Fla. (ESPN2). Michigan brings the highest-scoring offense in the nation into the Frozen Four, averaging 4.22 goals per game despite being the nation’s youngest team. The squad has been ranked in the top 10 nationally all season and set an NCAA record last week for most goals in an NCAA Regional game with 11.
Naurato’s program has electrified the Michigan fanbase, with the Wolverines setting a program record with 17 sold-out home crowds this season. Despite missing six key players at times throughout the season for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships, Michigan sports a 26-11-3 overall record while advancing to an NCAA record 27th Frozen Four appearance.
A native of Livonia, Michigan, Naurato joined U-M in 2021-22 following three years with the Detroit Red Wings organization, where he served as a player development consultant. In that role, he worked with the Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins coaching staffs to incorporate individual player skills into the organizational structure.
Along with running all prospect development for Detroit in the summer months, Naurato worked independently with junior, college, and professional players in his development program, focusing on blending technical, tactical, and transferable skills. He also spent seven years as the owner and director of Total Package Hockey in Detroit, where he started the first online hockey academy in the United States.
Notable NHL players that have worked with Naurato include Zach Werenski, Quinn Hughes, Dylan Larkin, Jacob Trouba, Jack Hughes, Kyle Connor, JT Compher, and Andrew Copp.
Naurato played four years at Michigan, from 2006-09, making the NCAA Tournament all four years. In 130 career games, he scored 32 goals and recorded 32 assists. He helped the Wolverines to the CCHA Championship in 2008, which led to a Frozen Four appearance. He played four years in the pros, making stops at Stockton (ECHL), Toledo (ECHL), Port Huron (IHL), Fort Wayne (CHL), and Dayton (CHL).
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