Just over a week after the retirement of Don Lucia, the University of Minnesota announced that St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko will take over Lucia’s position as head coach at the University of Minnesota.
Motzko served as an assistant coach under Lucia at Minnesota from 2001 to 2005, a stretch that included back-to-back national titles for Minnesota. In 2005, Motzko was hired as head coach at St. Cloud State. He amassed a 276-192-49 record in 13 seasons. He coached the team to eight NCAA tournament appearances, which included the program’s first NCAA tournament win in 2010 and the school’s first trip to the Frozen Four in 2013. He also coache the Huskies to their first three regular season league titles in school history, and won an NCHC Frozen Faceoff championship. In addition, Motzko has coached the last two US World Junior teams, winning a gold and bronze medal in the event.
Though many of the problems that plagued Lucia in his final years still remain—namely, a conference that nobody wants and a postseason tournament that might as well be drawing names out of a hat—it’s hard to imagine Minnesota coming away with a better hire. Few if any other coaches have the resume Motzko brings in terms of D-1 head coaching experience, and building a program into an elite national powerhouse. He’ll face a different set of challenges in Minneapolis, with much tougher, and perhaps sometimes unfair, scrutiny, but there’s little doubt that he is an excellent coach.