Retired Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson named grand marshal for Pure Michigan 400

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Retired University of Michigan head hockey coach Red Berenson will serve as the grand marshal for the Pure Michigan 400 on August 13 at Michigan International Speedway. Matthew Kiser, the Michigan State Police Trooper of the Year will serve as the honorary starter.

“One of Michigan’s greatest assets is our people – and Coach Berenson and Trooper Kiser are perfect examples of people making a difference in our communities,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “They will represent our state, and the spirit of Pure Michigan, well on race day.”

Berenson will give the command of “Start your engines!” as the Pure Michigan 400 gets underway at 3 p.m. The Pure Michigan 400 will be broadcast live on NBC Sports as Trooper Kiser waves the green flag.

“I am extremely honored to be named the Grand Marshal for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway,” said Berenson. “This race is a great sports tradition for the state of Michigan and I am glad to be a part of it.”

“We are excited to have Red Berenson and Trooper Matthew Kiser join us for the Pure Michigan 400,” track President Rick Brenner said. “Our fans are eagerly waiting to hear the starting command and see the green flag wave to start the Pure Michigan 400.”

Michigan went 848-426-92 (.654) in the Berenson era, including the 1996 and 1998 NCAA national championships, the eighth and ninth in school history. Under Berenson, the Wolverines qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 23 of the past 27 seasons. His run of 22 consecutive appearances from 1991-2012 marks the longest streak ever in college hockey. In that time, Michigan reached the NCAA Frozen Four 11 times, including back-to-back appearances in 1992 and 1993, four consecutive appearances in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 and three consecutive showings between 2001-03; 2008 and 2011. U-M also reached the national title game in 2011.

Berenson became the fourth collegiate ice hockey coach to record 800 career victories. Berenson’s 848 victories place him fourth on the NCAA ice hockey coaches all-time win list.

Most recently, Berenson was named the 2016 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year, leading Michigan to a record 36th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and the 23rd NCAA bid in his tenure at Michigan. U-M finished the 2015-16 season at 25-8-5 (12-5-3-2 Big Ten), as the Wolverines clinched the program’s first Big Ten Tournament title with a 5-3 win over Minnesota.

A three-year varsity letterwinner, Berenson earned All-America and Michigan Most Valuable Player honors in both his junior and senior seasons (1961, ’62). His 43 goals and nine hat tricks in his last season still stand as Michigan records. Berenson holds two degrees from the University of Michigan, his bachelor’s degree from the School of Business Administration in 1962 and a Master of Business Administration degree in 1966.

Berenson played in the NHL for 17 years as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues. He accumulated 261 goals and 397 assists in 987 games, the most career points by any Michigan alumnus in the NHL. Following his retirement as a player after the 1977-78 season, he served on the coaching staff of the St. Louis Blues and earned the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year in 1981.

Trooper Kiser will get the honor to wave the green flag to the start the Pure Michigan 400.

“It is my honor to represent the Michigan State Police and Pure Michigan at the Michigan International Speedway for this event,” Trooper Kiser said. “The MSP and MIS have a long, rich history together and  I have worked many races over my career. I am excited to be part of what is sure to be a wonderful day.”

The Gerstacker Trooper of the Year Award recognizes the MSP trooper or sergeant who symbolizes outstanding professional ethics, dedication to duty and a concern for giving back to their community. The late Dr. Carl A. Gerstacker, former chairman of Dow Chemical Company, created the award in 1961.

Kiser is a two-time recipient of the Cpl. Samuel A. Mapes Criminal Patrol and Investigation Award, recognized for excelling in looking past the traffic stop to identify serious crimes and close investigations with felony arrests. He is highly regarded by his fellow troopers because of his valuable expertise in narcotics investigations and tactical situations.

Kiser has been instrumental in several MSP community initiatives, including Stuff a Blue Goose and Special Olympics Field Day. He also participates in programs at local schools and gives presentations for Families Against Narcotics in Oakland County.

Kiser enlisted with the department in 1996, graduating as a member of the 114th Trooper Recruit School. Prior to serving at the Metro North Post, he has served at the Sandusky and Detroit posts.

Kiser served in the United States Navy from 1989-94.

A C-130 Hercules, provided by The 103rd Airlift Wing from the Connecticut Air National Guard, stationed at Bradley Air National Guard Base will provide the flyover.

Source: Michigan International Speedway

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