MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota head coach Don Lucia, who missed the Gophers’ game Friday due to an undetermined illness, addressed the issue of his health Saturday evening.
Speaking during the Dodge Holiday Classic championship game at Mariucci Arena, Lucia said that the results of further tests were needed and that he expected to miss the Gophers’ games in Grand Forks, N.D., next weekend.
“I started feeling a little bit under the weather last weekend,” said Lucia, adding, “I haven’t been able to feel comfortable being out there [at practice].
“All the tests have been negative,” he added. “There are still three or four things it could be, but we just don’t know.
Also present was team physician Dr. Rob LaPrade, who asked for Lucia’s privacy to be respected.
“We’re making sure Coach Lucia has the best of care,” LaPrade said. “We don’t have a diagnosis. … The best thing to do is to wait until Friday, when some more tests will be done.”
Lucia, 50, missed the Gophers’ Friday semifinal at the Dodge Holiday Classic against Brown. Lucia was at Saturday’s game, but was seated in the press box as assistant John Hill continued to run the team.
On Friday, Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi addressed Lucia’s absence during the Gophers’ game against the Bears, saying that Lucia was suffering from “flu-like” symptoms but that tests had not yet produced a diagnosis.
“The good news is, to this point nothing serious has been found,” said Maturi at that time, adding that he was “very optimistic” about Lucia’s prognosis but did not have further details.
Multiple media outlets had reported Thursday night and Friday morning that Lucia had been feeling unwell since last weekend, had had tests performed at a hospital and had missed practice earlier this week before addressing the team Thursday.
Friday’s game was the first Lucia had missed in his 22-year head coaching career. Hill was named interim head coach for the contest against Brown.
Lucia, who ranks fifth among active Division I coaches in career victories and has a career record of 526-271-72 at Alaska (then Alaska-Fairbanks), Colorado College and Minnesota, hoped to return to the team for Saturday night’s game, according to a university press release.