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Don Lucia signs two year extension

Minnesota’s head coach is under contract through his 20th season with the Gophers.

Don Lucia Gophers 2015-16 crowd shot (Matt Christians) Matt Christians/SBN College Hockey

University of Minnesota and men’s hockey head coach Don Lucia have agreed on a two year extension that takes Lucia through his 20th season behind the Gopher bench.

Lucia entered the season in the final year of his contract. This extension takes him through the 2018-19 season.

“It’s truly an honor to coach this program, and I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished here at the University of Minnesota,” Lucia said in a statement released bu the University. “We have high expectations for ourselves just like we know people have high expectations for us, and our program is proud of the bar we have set. We require dedication and excellence in everything we do, and everybody in our locker room buys into that. We’ve had that mindset since we got here, and our goals aren’t going to change.”

The deal comes one day before Minnesota opens the 2016-17 season on the road against Alaska-Anchorage.

When addressing the situation yesterday Lucia alluded to contract situation being done in the near future.

“The year begins and you’re just excited about the year and that’s the process. I feel good about the talks we’ve had and where things are headed,” he said.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed. In July the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the University of Minnesota and new Athletic Director Mark Coyle offered a two-year contract worth between $550,000 and $600,000. (UPDATED: KSTP TV obtained a copy of the contract. Lucia will have a base salary of $362,000-375K plus $250,000 a season towards retirement.)

In 17 seasons at Minnesota Lucia has won two national championships and reached the Frozen Four five times. He is the Gophers’all-time leader in coaching victories, holding a 415-219-68 record. His teams have won 10 regular season titles, including the past five consecutive seasons, and 4 conference tournament titles.

“I promise our recruits and student-athletes that we’ll help them get their degree from Minnesota and compete for championships. Coach Lucia has been honoring that promise to Gopher student-athletes for the past 17 seasons,” said athletics director Mark Coyle. “Our men’s hockey program continues to raise banners at Mariucci Arena while also performing at a high level academically and graduating student-athletes. I’m excited to watch Coach Lucia and his team defend their Big Ten title and pursue deep runs into the NCAA tournament in upcoming seasons.”

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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter --