Don Lucia  
Don Lucia

Position:
Head Coach

Alma Mater:
Notre Dame '81


10/16/2014

Don Lucia Radio Show Returns Monday

1500 ESPN will air Lucia's radio show on Mondays at 6 p.m. CT during the season.

10/11/2014

Gophers, RPI to Play for Ice Breaker Title

Minnesota is 10-2-0 all-time against RPI including a 6-2 win last season at Mariucci Arena.

10/08/2014

Gophers Open Up at Ice Breaker Tournament

Minnesota will play Minnesota Duluth to open the season on Oct. 10 (1 p.m. CT) and will play either Notre Dame or RPI on Oct. 12 (11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m.).

09/30/2014

Gophers Host Exhibition Action on Saturday

The Maroon & Gold will take on the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

09/05/2014

Gophers Announce Captains for 2014-15

Kyle Rau, Ben Marshall and Seth Ambroz will lead Minnesota this season.

04/24/2014

Pride On Ice: Frozen Four

In the latest edition of Pride On Ice, the Gophers make a dramatic run to the NCAA title game.

04/11/2014

Gophers Shock North Dakota

Minnesota beat North Dakota in the last second to advance to the NCAA title game.

04/11/2014

Postgame North Dakota

Minnesota meets the media following its win over North Dakota.

04/10/2014

Frozen Four Preview

Don Lucia and Nate Condon meet the media at the Frozen Four.

01/16/2014

Pride On Ice: Ep. 2

Watch Episode 2 of Pride on Ice.

03/24/2012

Men's Hockey vs Boston U NCAA Regional 03.24.12

Men's Hockey vs Boston U NCAA Regional 03.24.12

02/17/2012

Men's Hockey vs Bemidji 02.17.12

Men's Hockey vs Bemidji 02.17.12

Now in his 15th season at the helm of the Minnesota men's hockey program, Don Lucia leads the Gophers into new territory in 2013-14 as the program prepares to compete in the new Big Ten Conference. In 26 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Lucia has compiled a 623-337-88 (.636) record includingan exceptional 344-182-59 (.638) mark during his 14 seasons.

During his tenure at Minnesota, Lucia, 55, has helped his teams raise nine banners to the rafters of Mariucci Arena, including back-to-back NCAA championships in 2001-02 and 2002-03. His squads have also captured four WCHA titles and three WCHA Final Five crowns. In addition, Lucia has led the Gophers to nine 25-win seasons and eight top-three finishes in the WCHA. He is a three-time WCHA Coach of the Year, winning the award in 1993-94, 1995-96 and 2005-06.

Joining the legendary Herb Brooks, Lucia became only the second head coach in Gopher history to lead his team to increasing win totals in each of his first three seasons. After Minnesota finished 20-19-2 in his first year, the Gophers went 27-13-2 in 2000-01 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. His third campaign saw the team finish 32-8-4 and win its first NCAA Championship in 23 years with a dramatic 4-3 overtime win vs. Maine at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

In 2002-03, the Gophers took home their fifth national title, posting a 28-8-9 record en route to beating New Hampshire 5-1 in Buffalo, N.Y. in the title game. With that NCAA crown, Lucia became one of just four coaches in NCAA history to lead his team to back-to-back national titles. The 2002-03 squad also captured the Gophers' first WCHA Final Five championship since 1995-96 while finishing the season with an eight-game winning streak and 12-game unbeaten streak.

In fact, Lucia has done some of his best coaching late in the season, owning a 68-36-2 combined record during the months of March and April. He has 19 NCAA tournament coaching victories and has led his teams to 15 career appearances in the event. Five of those appearances came while coaching at Colorado College as Lucia joins current Boston College coach Jerry York as the only coaches to lead two different schools to at least five NCAA tournament appearances. He is one of just six coaches in NCAA history to lead two different schools to the Frozen Four.

Lucia led his teams to at least 27 wins in each of the next four seasons, capturing a second straight WCHA Final Five title in 2003-04 and reaching the NCAA Frozen Four in 2004-05. His 2005-06 and 2006-07 squads both won WCHA regular season titles and earned top seeds in the NCAA tournament. The 2006-07 team had a school-record 22-game unbeaten streak after a season-opening loss and finished 31-10-3 overall.

One of Lucia's best in-season coaching performances may have come in 2007-08 when the team finished 19-17-9 and placed seventh in the WCHA, but had a strong finish with three-straight overtime wins to reach the WCHA Final Five championship game and earn an eighth-straight berth to the NCAA tournament, which was the second-longest streak in Minnesota history.

In 2008-09, the Gophers were ranked No. 1 in the country for two weeks in November before Lucia was diagnosed with sarcoidosis midway through the season, causing him to miss four games as the team finished 17-13-7 overall and fifth place in the WCHA regular season.

The struggles carried over into 2009-10 when Lucia endured just his second losing season as a head coach and first since 1989-90 when the Gophers finished 18-19-2. However, in typical Lucia fashion, the squad played its best hockey at the end of the season with wins in four of its last six regular season games and a hard-fought three-game series loss at eventual WCHA Final Five champion North Dakota in the league playoffs.

Lucia, who received a clean bill of health from his doctors in July 2010, guided the Gophers to a 16-14-6 record during the 2010-11 season. The young squad finished the regular season with a 5-0-2 record in its last seven games before falling to Alaska Anchorage in the league playoffs.

After missing the NCAA tournament for three-straight seasons, Lucia led the Gophers to a resurgent season in 2011-12. Minnesota, which went 28-14-1 and led the nation with 155 goals, won the MacNaughton Cup with a 20-8-0 record in WCHA play. The Gophers, who ascended to No. 1 in the country during the season, won the NCAA West Regional with victories against Boston University and rival North Dakota at Xcel Energy Center to advance to the program's 20th NCAA Frozen Four. During the season, Lucia earned his 300th win as head coach of Minnesota (4-1 win at Wisconsin on Nov. 12, 2011) and he also coached in his 1,000th collegiate game (3-2 win at Nebraska Omaha on Feb. 25, 2012).

The 2012-13 season saw a continuation of that success as Minnesota earned a share of its second-straight MacNaughton Cup and the program's fourth in the last eight years. With a 26-9-5 overall record, including a perfect 8-0-0 record in regular season nonconference play, the Gophers led the nation in scoring offense and power play (additionally, the Gophers led the WCHA in scoring defense and penalty kill). The 2012-13 season also saw Lucia become just the 10th coach to earn 600 career wins with Lucia doing so in a 3-2 win at Michigan Tech on Oct. 20, 2012.

Lucia has coached 16 first-team All-Americans, including 2001-02 Hobey Baker Award winner, Jordan Leopold and, most recently, 2008-09 selection Ryan Stoa. He also has coached 57 all-WCHA players, 21 all-WCHA defensemen, eight Hobey Baker Award finalists, six WCHA Defensive Players of the Year and three WCHA Rookies of the Year. Leopold's Hobey Baker Award was the fourth in Minnesota history.

Lucia has helped many Gophers move on to the next level as well. During his 14-year tenure, 69 of his players have been drafted by NHL franchises including 14 first round selections. Erik Johnson was taken first overall in the 2006 draft by the St. Louis Blues while Thomas Vanek (2003), Blake Wheeler (2004) and Phil Kessel (2006) were all taken with the fifth overall choice.

Fourteen of Lucia's players saw action in the NHL in 2012-13 including Nick Leddy, who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

Two of Lucia's former players, Johnson and Kessel, were members of the 2010 Team USA squad that won the silver medal at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Paul Martin would have been a third Gopher on Team USA, but missed the Olympics because of an injury.

Lucia has maintained Minnesota's tradition of building a roster built primarily around Minnesota natives, however, he has also brought in several top-notch players from other states and countries to keep the Gophers among the nation's elite programs. He has been successful in attracting some of the nation's top players who have participated in the U.S. National Development Team program, drawing 20 players from the Ann Arbor, Mich. squad since taking over the Gophers' program.

Prior to his arrival at Minnesota, Lucia led Colorado College, to a 166-68-18 (.694) record in six seasons. Tied with former Wisconsin head coach Jeff Sauer as the second-winningest coach in Colorado College history, Lucia guided the Tigers to a record of 23-11-5 record and the WCHA regular-season title in his first season in 1993-94. Colorado College had struggled to an 8-28 record the previous season and had not experienced a winning season in the previous 13 campaigns. The league title was Colorado College's first in 37 years.

Lucia, who guided Colorado College to an unprecedented three-straight outright regular-season league titles in his first three years behind the bench, helped the Tigers appear in the 1996 championship game and 1997 NCAA Frozen Four semifinals. Lucia was honored at the conclusion of the 1993-94 season as the 44th recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award as National Coach of the Year by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

Prior to his stint at Colorado College, Lucia spent six years as head coach at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he posted four winning seasons and an overall record of 113-87-10. In his first year as head coach in 1987-88, the Nanooks claimed the final championship of the now-defunct Great West Hockey Conference, and Lucia was named the league's Coach of the Year.

Lucia has been a collegiate coach for 32 seasons overall, spending six years as an assistant following his graduation from the University of Notre Dame in 1981. He began his career as an assistant at Alaska Fairbanks (1981-85) before moving to the University of Alaska Anchorage for two seasons (1985-87). He lettered three times as a defenseman at Notre Dame, where he served as assistant team captain his senior year.

Lucia has also been active with USA Hockey, having served as head coach of the national-16 team that competed in Finland in August 1996. In the summer of 1995, he was coach of Team West at the United States Olympic Festival in Denver. Lucia served as the president of the American Hockey Coaches Association in 1999.

As a prep athlete, Lucia helped Grand Rapids High School claim two Minnesota State High School Hockey Championships (1975 and 1976) as well as a pair of third-place finishes (1974 and 1977). He earned all-state recognition as a linebacker in football and as a defenseman in hockey his senior year. He also served as captain of the hockey team during his final prep campaign. He later was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League.

Lucia and his wife, Joyce, are the parents of two daughters, Alison and Jessica, as well as two sons, former Gopher Tony and Mario. Lucia also became a grandfather in the summer of 2011. The Lucia family makes its home in Plymouth, Minn.


Lucia at a Glance

Born:August 20, 1958

High School:Grand Rapids High School (Minn.)

Education:B.S., University of Notre Dame, 1981

Coaching Experience

  • Alaska-Fairbanks: assistant coach, 1981-85
  • Alaska Anchorage: assistant coach, 1985-87
  • Alaska-Fairbanks: head coach, 1987-93
  • Colorado College: head coach, 1993-99
  • Minnesota: head coach, 1999-present

Coaching Highlights

  • Coached Minnesota to back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2002 and 2003
  • One of only four coaches in NCAA history to lead a team to back-to-back titles
  • Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year in 1994
  • Has led Minnesota to four Frozen Fours
  • Three-time WCHA Coach of the Year (1994, 1996, 2006)
  • Coached 2002 Hobey Baker Award winner, Jordan Leopold
  • Coached his teams to seven MacNaughton Cups and three Broadmoor Trophies

Has Coached

  • 16 first team All-Americans
  • 8 Hobey Baker Award finalists
  • 57 All-WCHA team members
  • 147 WCHA All-Academic team members

Coaching Record

  • 623-337-88 (.637) overall (through 26 seasons)
  • 113-87-11 (.562) at Alaska Fairbanks (six seasons)
  • 166-68-18 (.694) at Colorado College (six seasons)
  • 344-182-59 (.640) at Minnesota (14 seasons)

Family
Wife: Joyce
Children: Alison, Jessica, Tony, Mario


First-Team All-Americans Under Lucia

Player (College) Pos. Year
Shawn Reid (CC) D 1993-94
Jay McNeill (CC) F 1994-95
Kent Fearns (CC) D 1994-95
Ryan Bach (CC) G 1994-95
1995-96
Peter Geronazzo (CC) F 1995-96
Calvin Elfring (CC) D 1997-98
Brian Swanson (CC) C 1998-99
Scott Swanson (CC) D 1998-99
Jordan Leopold (MN) D 2000-01
2001-02
John Pohl (MN) C 2001-02
Keith Ballard (MN) D 2003-04
Ryan Potulny (MN) C 2005-06
Alex Goligoski (MN) D 2006-07
Ryan Stoa (MN) F 2008-09

Lucia at Minnesota

2012-13

  • Record: 26-9-5 (16-7-5 WCHA)
  • Co-WCHA Championship
  • NCAA tournament appearance
  • Team led the nation in scoring offense and power play

2011-12

  • Record: 28-14-1 (20-8-0 WCHA)
  • WCHA Championship
  • NCAA Frozen Four appearance
  • Four 40-point scorers, seven 30-point scorers

2010-11

  • Record: 16-14-6 (13-10-5 WCHA)

2009-10

  • Record: 18-19-2 (12-14-2 WCHA)

2008-09

  • Record: 17-13-7 (12-11-5 WCHA)
  • Ryan Stoa: First Team All-American
  • Jordan Schroeder: WCHA Rookie of the Year

2007-08

  • Record: 19-17-9 (9-12-7 WCHA)
  • WCHA Final Five Runner-up
  • NCAA Tournament appearance

2006-07

  • Record: 31-10-3 (18-7-3 WCHA)
  • WCHA Championship
  • WCHA Final Five Champions
  • NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed
  • Alex Goligoski: First Team All-American

2005-06

  • Record: 27-9-5 (20-5-3 WCHA)
  • WCHA Championship
  • WCHA Co-Coach of the Year
  • NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed
  • Ryan Potulny: Hobey Baker Award Finalist/First Team All-American/nation's leading scorer
  • Phil Kessel: WCHA Rookie of the Year/nation's leading rookie scorer

2004-05

  • Record: 28-15-1 (17-10-1 WCHA)
  • NCAA Frozen Four appearance
  • NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed
  • Three 40-point scorers

2003-04

  • Record: 27-14-3 (15-12-1 WCHA)
  • WCHA Final Five Champions
  • NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed
  • Keith Ballard: Hobey Baker Award Finalist/First Team All-American

2002-03

  • Record: 28-8-9 (15-6-7 WCHA)
  • NCAA Champions
  • WCHA Final Five Champions
  • NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed
  • Thomas Vanek: nation's leading rookie scorer

2001-02

  • Record: 32-8-4 (18-7-3 WCHA)
  • NCAA Champions
  • Jordan Leopold: Hobey Baker Award winner/First Team All-American/WCHA Defensive Player of the Year/nation's leading defenseman scorer
  • John Pohl: First Team All-American/nation's leading scorer

2000-01

  • Record: 27-13-2 (18-8-2 WCHA)
  • NCAA Tournament appearance
  • Jordan Leopold: First Team All-American/WCHA Defensive Player of the Year

1999-2000

  • Record: 20-19-2 (13-13-2 WCHA)
  • First season at Minnesota