Pearson had been on Red's staff for 20+ years, and in at least some ways Red's downturn started after Pearson got the MTU job. (Of course other factors probably played a larger part to the decline, but it's at least some blend of "continuity hire" and "return to the days before the downturn").
He had returned MTU from the abyss (none of his three predecessors, stretching back to the mid-90s, even made it into the .300s for winning percentage; and he's the first to manage better than .500 since MacInness), and brought them to their first NCAA appearances since 1981.
And unlike with Bazin at UML, prying someone away from their alma mater when that school isn't already a national contender is a more reasonable exercise. The two NCAA appearances both ended in the first round, contrasted with top-5 finishes and the RiverHawks' first Frozen Four.
was because of the changes in the conference lineup. My guess is if the seismic shifting we saw after PSU and the NCHC had NOT happened, MTU would not have made two NCAA appearances in the last 3 seasons, regardless of who the coach was.
It's likely Pearson was a large part of UMs success, especially the last few seasons he was there, but now we'll see just how much. My guess is they'll be a lot better with him there because UM people say Red checked out a couple of years ago and was mostly a figurehead. UM dodged a huge bullet by getting Berenson out when they did. I was hoping he'd stay there another 2 or 3 years and bury that program to the point they were in most of the 70s and 80s.
I think there's little doubt that the blow up of the CCHA and the WCHA which started with the Big I departing helped his record at MTU after that happened. The only part that's a little surprising to me is that I thought they might go after a guy who's somewhat younger.