John Madden has been on the job in Cleveland for less than a year, but could he be on the move already?
With the retirement of legendary University of Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson, a new era was ushered in last week and Mel Pearson was introduced as the new Wolverines head coach. Pearson spent two decades as an assistant under Berenson before leaving to head up Michigan Tech's hockey program, but with him now back in the fold, another Wolverine alum is reportedly being targeted to join his staff.
Madden played for Berenson between 1993-1997 and set the NCAA record for shorthanded goals (23) during his time in Ann Arbor. Madden was also part of the Wolverines' 1995-96 national championship squad.
But why would Madden, currently a head coach in the AHL, leave Cleveland for an assistant coach job at the NCAA level when he's seemingly a footstep from returning to the NHL? A couple of reasons:
1. Alma mater. People do crazy things when their heartstrings are tugged at by their university. When you factor in the (likely) influence of a guy like Berenson, it makes some sense that Madden would consider the job.
2. Job security. Not to say Madden's on the hot seat in Cleveland, but going back to college and basically re-launching a program with Pearson, whom he played for, is not a short-term project. They would be in it for the long haul and have the full backing of the university and athletic director Warde Manuel.
Pearson has only been on the job for a few days, so this may go quiet for a bit while he gets settled. But usually, there's fire where there's smoke, and Buccigross nailed the Pearson hire from the beginning. Should this move materialize, the Blue Jackets would be on the hunt for their second AHL head coach in less than a year.