Don Lucia stepping down as Gophers hockey head coach

The Gophers men's hockey coach Don Lucia is stepping down after spending 19 years as head coach, according to officials with the University of Minnesota.

Lucia is expected to address the team later today.

According to a U of M press release, Lucia will be stepping down as head coach, pending approval from the Board of Regents, which is expected to happen later this week. He will continue to serve as a special assistant to the Gophers athletics director through June 30, 2019.

“Gopher Hockey is not just a college hockey program, it’s a cultural institution in the state of Minnesota, built on more than 90 years of success and tradition. Few have contributed as much to that legacy as Don,” said U of M Athletics Director Mark Coyle. “He knows how much I appreciate everything he has accomplished in his 19 years as head coach, but he and I also agree that it’s time for someone else to lead our program. From his program’s commitment to academic excellence to the banners his teams raised into in our rafters, I can’t thank him enough for what he’s contributed to the success of Gopher Hockey.”

“I want to thank Mark Dienhart for giving me a tremendous opportunity 19 years ago. I came to Minnesota because of the tradition, and I hoped to add to the tradition when I left. I am proud of the 14 banners that have been added to the rafters of 3M Arena at Mariucci. I am forever grateful to all the coaches, staff and most importantly the players who have worked so hard to accomplish this over the years,” said Lucia. “Most importantly to me, we did it the right way. Our players all graduate and have always represented themselves to the high standards of Gopher Hockey on and off the ice. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to be the head hockey coach at the University of Minnesota.”  

Lucia went 438-231-71 in 18 seasons with the Gophers, including two NCAA national championships in  2001-02 and 2002-03. This season, however, the team did not make the tournament.