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On the way to the Frozen Four, Brandon Naurato is named Michigan's permanent head coach

After leading the Wolverines to a Big Ten tournament title and the Frozen Four in his first season, the coach's "interim" tag was dropped and a five -year contract is being finalized.

After leading the Michigan Wolverines to the Frozen Four as their interim head coach for the 2022-23 season, Brandon Naurato was named to the position permanently on March 31, 2023.
Daryl Marshke / UM Photography

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While there are no roster additions this late in the college hockey season, Michigan’s head coach will head to Tampa next week with a commodity he was previously lacking: job security.

On Friday afternoon, University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced that Brandon Naurato’s “interim” tag has been removed, and they are finalizing a five-year contract for Naurato to be the Wolverines’ head coach.

Taking over the Michigan program less than two months before the season started, the Wolverines' new coach has them playing with confidence, for each other, and seeking their first title in 25 years.

“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, in a statement from the school. “Simply put, Brandon has done a phenomenal job with this team over the past year … I look forward to watching the program sustain great success under his leadership.”

Named the interim head coach on Aug. 7, 2022, after Mel Pearson was dismissed from the Michigan program, Naurato, 38, led the Wolverines to a second-place finish in the Big Ten’s regular season, an upset of Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament’s title game, and back to the Frozen Four.

Starting next season, men's and women's season-ticket holders for the Minnesota Gophers will be able to return seats they cannot use and get credit for future season ticket purchases.
Todd Inkrott and new Badgers hockey coach Mike Hastings had worked together for more than a decade at MSU Mankato. He becomes the latest former Mavs staffer to follow the coach east.
The defenseman originally from southern California was a four-year regular on the U of M blue line, and a first-round pick of Buffalo in 2019.
Transfers from St. Lawrence, Princeton and UMD will help bolster the Gophers on the back end next season as they try to find a way back to the Frozen Four and repeat as WCHA tourney champs.
The Minnesota Gophers center led the team in scoring on the way to a Big Ten title and a trip to the NCAA title game, and recently announced he will return for a sophomore college hockey season.
"We are excited to bring Nick and his family to the University of Wisconsin," head coach Mike Hastings said.
The former Minnesota Mr. Hockey winner is coming off a senior campaign where he notched career highs in goals and points while playing right wing on the Gophers' second line much of the season.
When the vote to build a new Arizona Coyotes rink in Tempe failed, a big piece of their future decided that NHL hockey can wait another year, and Logan Cooley announced his return to the U of M.
After leading the Minnesota Gophers in all offensive categories as a freshman, the talented center from Pittsburgh will hold off on signing a pro contract and make another run at a NCAA title.
After coming to the U of M as a walk-on in 2019, Justen Close became the team's mainstay in goal in January 2022 and has backstopped two Big Ten titles and two Frozen Four trips.

“I’m extremely honored to be officially named the head coach of Michigan hockey," said Naurato, who is from suburban Detroit and played for the Wolverines in the 2000s. “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.”


Naurato returned to Michigan as an assistant on Pearson’s staff last season following three years in player development with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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