Don Lucia
Don  Lucia

Grand Rapids, Minn.

Head Coach

Alma Mater:
Notre Dame '81


Lucia Steps Down, Leaves Legacy at Minnesota

Lucia steps down after 19 years leading one of most decorated programs in college hockey history.


Rinkside: Gophers Prepping for SCSU Series

The No. 10 Gopher Hockey program will begin 2018 with a home-and-home series against in-state rival St. Cloud State this weekend.


In-State Showdown with SCSU on Deck

Saturday's opener is set for 6:30 p.m. CT in St. Cloud (CBS Sports, while Sunday's finale will be held at 3M Arena at Mariucci at 6:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, TSN2, BTN2Go, FOX Sports Go, TSNGo).


Robson Earns First Win as Gophers Sweep

Making his second start for the Maroon & Gold, Robson (1-1-0) made his home-ice debut on Saturday and turned away 25 out of the 26 shots he faced for his first collegiate win.


Gophers Take Down No. 9 Clarkson in Opener

Eric Schierhorn played solid in net behind a strong defense while eight different Gophers had at least a point.


Pride On Ice: Episode 1

Pride On Ice returns for season three and is produced by Gopher Digital Productions.


Pride On Ice: Frozen Four

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


Gophers Shock North Dakota

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


Postgame North Dakota

Minnesota meets the media following its win over North Dakota.


Frozen Four Preview

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


2017 Men's Ice Hockey vs SCSU

game for Men's hockey vs SCSU


Men's Hockey vs. Ohio State 12-4-15

Men's Hockey vs. Ohio State 12-4-15


MHK vs. Vermont 10.10.2015

Men's Hockey Home Opener vs. Vermont


MHK: Michigan State at Minnesota 2-26-15

Michigan State at Minnesota 2-26-15


Men's Hockey vs Boston U NCAA Regional 03.24.12

Men's Hockey vs Boston U NCAA Regional 03.24.12


Now in his 19th season at the helm of the Minnesota men's hockey program, Don Lucia will guide the Gophers as the Maroon & Gold compete for their seventh-straight regular-season conference championship.

In 30 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Lucia has compiled a 717-386-100 record including an exceptional 438-231-71 mark during his 18 seasons at Minnesota. The Grand Rapids, Minn., native is Minnesota’s all-time winningest with 438 victories on the Maroon & Gold bench.

During his tenure at Minnesota, Lucia has helped his teams raise 14 banners to the rafters of Mariucci Arena, including back-to-back NCAA championships in 2001-02 and 2002-03. His Gophers squads have also captured eight regular-season conference titles and four conference playoff crowns. In addition, Lucia has led the Gophers to 10 25-win seasons and 12 top-three conference finishes. He is a four-time conference coach of the year, winning the award as part of the WCHA in 1993-94, 1995-96 and 2005-06 and earning the inaugural Big Ten Coach of the Year honor in 2013-14.

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 five 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.

He has 22 NCAA tournament coaching victories and has led his teams to 18 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. 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 and the Gophers began a new era in 2013-14 as the team moved to the Big Ten Conference and went on to win the inaugural league title -- Minnesota’s third-straight regular-season conference title. The Maroon & Gold also returned to the NCAA Frozen Four for the second time in three years and earned the right to play for the national championship. Hobey Baker Award finalist Adam Wilcox backstopped the Gophers while earning Second Team All-America honors, Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year honors and First Team All-Big Ten status. Mike Reilly, meanwhile, was named a First Team All-American, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-Big Ten honoree while Kyle Rau was named Second Team All-America and Second Team All-Big Ten.

Minnesota continued to find success in 2014-15, repeating as Big Ten regular-season champions and adding the Big Ten Tournament Title. Meanwhile, Mike Reilly repeated as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and became just the seventh Gopher to earn multiple First Team All-America honors. Personally, the 2014-15 season saw Lucia become the winningest coach in Gopher Hockey history, passing his predecessor, Doug Woog.

The 2015-16 season saw the Lucia-led Gophers match the NCAA record with their fifth-straight regular-season conference championship while the program made NCAA history in 2016-17 with a record sixth-straight conference crown as well as another NCAA record – Minnesota’s 37th NCAA tournament appearance. The Gophers carried the Big Ten Player of the Year (Tyler Sheehy), the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (Jake Bischoff) and the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year (Eric Schierhorn). Sheehy was also tabbed a First Team All-American and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

Lucia has coached 19 First Team All-Americans, including 2001-02 Hobey Baker Award winner, Jordan Leopold. He also has coached 73 all-conference players, 12 Hobey Baker Award finalists, and nine conference defensive players of the year and three conference 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 15-year tenure, 82 of his players have been drafted by NHL franchises including 15 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.

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 USA Hockey’s National Development Team 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 spent 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 most recently served as the head coach of the U.S. World Junior Championship team that competed in Sweden during the 2013-14 season. Lucia previous 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 Notre Dame alum Mario. The Lucias also have three grandchildren. 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 five 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 five Frozen Fours
  • Four-time conference Coach of the Year (1994, 1996, 2006, 2014)
  • Coached 2002 Hobey Baker Award winner, Jordan Leopold
  • Coached his teams to 11 regular-season conference titles and four conference playoff titles

Has Coached

  • 19 First Team All-Americans
  • 12 Hobey Baker Award finalists
  • 73 all-conference team members
  • 206 all-conference academic team members

Coaching Record

  • 717-386-100 overall (through 30 seasons)
  • 113-87-11 at Alaska Fairbanks (six seasons)
  • 166-68-18  at Colorado College (six seasons)
  • 438-231-71 at Minnesota (18 seasons)

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
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
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
Mike Reilly (MN) D 2013-14
Mike Reilly (MN) D 2014-15
Tyler Sheehy (MN) F 2016-17

Lucia at Minnesota


  • Record: 23-12-3 (14-5-1-0 Big Ten)
  • Big Ten Regular-Season Champions 
  • Set an NCAA record with six-straight regular-season conference titles.
  • Set an NCAA record with Minnesota's 37th NCAA tournament berth.
  • Tyler Sheehy - Big Ten Player of the Year, First Team All-American and Hobey Baker finalist.
  • Jake Bischoff - Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
  • Eric Schierhorn - Big Ten Goaltender of the Year
  • Four First Team All-Big Ten honorees (Sheehy, Bischoff, Schierhorn, Justin Kloos)


  • Record: 20-17-0 (14-6-0-0 Big Ten)
  • Big Ten Regular-Season Champions
  • Became the first coach in program history to win 400 games
  • Big Ten Goaltender of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten pick Eric Schierhorn


  • Record: 23-13-4 (12-5-3-0 Big Ten)
  • NCAA Tournament Appearance
  • Big Ten Regular-Season & Big Ten Tournament Champions
  • Hobey Baker Award Finalist, First Team All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Mike Reilly


  • Record: 28-7-6 (14-3-3-0Big Ten)
  • NCAA Runner-Up
  • Inaugural Big Ten Regular-Season Champions
  • Hobey Baker Award Finalist, Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year Adam Wilcox
  • First Team All-American Mike Reilly, Second Team All-Americans Adam Wilcox and Kyle Rau


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


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


  • Record: 16-14-6 (13-10-5 WCHA)


  • Record: 18-19-2 (12-14-2 WCHA)


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


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


  • 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


  • 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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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


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


2018 Gopher Hockey NHL Draft Guide

2018 Gopher Hockey NHL Draft Guide

6/15/2018 - M. Ice Hockey

The 2018 NHL Entry Draft is slated for June 22-23 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Peters, Szmatula Earn B1G Sportsmanship Award

Peters, Szmatula Earn B1G Sportsmanship Award

6/7/2018 - M. Ice Hockey

The accolade recognizes 28 standouts out of more than 350 students honored throughout the academic year for displaying positive sportsmanship.

From Golden Gophers to Golden Knights

From Golden Gophers to Golden Knights

5/28/2018 - M. Ice Hockey

The seemingly Odd Couple, former Gopher Hockey teammates Nate Schmidt and Erik Haula have Vegas' band of Golden Misfits four wins away from the Stanley Cup in their inaugural season.

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