BC-HKC-Minnesota-Lucia, 123 Don Lucia out as University of Minnesota hockey coachEds: APNewsNow. He led the Tigers to the 1996 NCAA championship game, where Colorado College fell to MI.
Before his exit as coach, the Gophers had an unlikely path to missing the NCAA Tournament after the program's first season not at the top of the Big Ten.
According to a report by Minnesota Daily's Drew Cove on Tuesday, Lucia is expected to inform the team that he will not return next season on Tuesday afternoon.
Lucia, 59, will finish his final season under contract at Minnesota as special assistant to the athletic director through the 2018-19 school year.
"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", Coyle said. "Few have contributed as much to that legacy as Don", said U of M Athletics Director Mark Coyle.
Among possible replacements for Lucia could be Grand Forks native Grant Potulny, a former Gopher player and assistant coach who led Northern Michigan University to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship in his first year at the helm this season. "I can't thank him enough for what he's contributed to the success of Gopher Hockey". He brought the program back, winning national titles in 2002 and 2003.
Lucia is Minnesota's all-time leader in wins with 457.
In those almost two decades at the U of M Lucia's 457 wins are the most in program history, an average of more than 24 wins per season. His Gophers teams claimed eight regular-season conference crowns, as well as four conference tournament titles. Our players all graduate and have always represented themselves to the high standards of Gopher Hockey on and off the ice. The Gophers appeared to still be in position to make the NCAAs, until a wild day this past Saturday where six out of six games went against them, leaving them.0001 RPI points out of a bid.
The list of potential candidates to replace Lucia includes several coaches with ties to the program. Mary's coach and current Buffalo Sabres assistant Tom Ward, St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko and MSU-Mankato head coach Mike Hastings.