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College Hockey:
Lucia getting contract extension at Minnesota?

According to a report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia and the university are in talks to give Lucia a contract extension.

Minnesota AD Joel Maturi told the paper that even with the Gophers failing to make the NCAA tournament for the third straight season this year, Lucia’s job was never in jeopardy.

“I wanted to make sure he knew I wanted him as our hockey coach,” Maturi said this afternoon to the Press. “There is a lot of anger and frustration out there; he’s hearing it and I’m hearing it. But I’m still the AD today and I want him to be coaching our men’s hockey team.”

“I want to be here, and someday when I leave here, I want to leave when it’s going good,” Lucia added in the same report. “I want to win another national title; I don’t want to just make the Frozen Four. I want to walk away when we’re on top, and I want to get that back. That’s my goal.”

Over his 24-year career that has also included stops at Alaska-Fairbanks and Colorado College, Lucia is 555-324-90, winning back-to-back national titles with Minnesota in 2002 and 2003.


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  • http://twitter.com/Booradley7 Bradley Reierson

    what a joke

  • SiouxFan69

    Are you kidding? What a db!

    Go Sioux!!!

  • Archam3

    Is Don a good coach? Yes! Somehow he needs to get these kids fired up again, I don’t know how or why it just seems he can’t get these guys to play gritty hard nosed hockey. Maybe we need to quit going after the top recruits and get players like (no offense guys) Grant Potulny, Matt Koalska, and Troy Riddle again….guys that are solid and that are going to play their hearts out through their senior season. If any coach goes I think its John Hill. Want to see the gophers play like they can and not sit back on their heels waiting for the other team to make their move!

  • John

    archam – replacing John Hill would be the 4th assistant fired or departed in the last 4 years. At some point the blame needs to shift a little higher.

  • Snipercohan23

    Let’s face it Minnesota had a winning overall record this year and has only had 1 losting season at 18-19-2 last year in his career at Minnesota. The guy deserves a few more years at the helm as this year upcoming years recruiting class will be key for him since it was the senior class this year which was the last time they made the NCAA’s as a freshman and guess what they had almost an identical win loss record as they did this year. I think you will see a very good Golden Gopher team next year.

  • B.D.

    Not likely. I think they are just waiting for the other shoe to drop sometime this summer. He will be eased out, they cannot have a fourth season like the last three.

  • SiouxAlumDenver

    I hope they give him 10 years!! This is the best news for the WCHA/Big Ten Conference!! GO SIOUX!!

    • TheWeasel

      I agree. Having Lucia with the goofs sends all the top prospects around the league. They haven’t had a recruiting class worth talking about since Opkosso and he left early because he enjoyed playing there so much.

      I really think they should make John Hill the head coach. He would be a good face for that university. Plus he probably gives the best interviews out there

      • Gopher Fan for Life

        John Hill is the problem with the program. We have not had a good defense in years and who handles the defense, Hill. Fire them all and bring back Guentzel, we won with him on the bench.

  • Anonymous

    Lucia has had some of the best recruits Minnesota could ask for and have continually been said to be one of the top recruiting teams in the WCHA and yet they seem to fall short every time nearing the post season… would not say that’s all players… Lucia needs to step down and let the program progress because he is obviously not getting the job done. Do Sioux fans want to see Dean Blais head to Minnesota? Hell no… but as a college hockey fan the guy is falling short of what the program can achieve. Cut your losses and move on.

    • Bucky Fan

      I think Minnesota has lost a lot of its recruiting power over the years, due to the addition of other MN schools and the progression of other programs around the nation. For MN to get its mojo back they need to increase its non MN recruits. Don’t forget that Minnesota won its back to back tittles in 02 and 03 with two of their key players/leaders coming from Wisconsin and North Dakota. As a Badger fan I don’t care if Minnesota contiues to flounder through poor recruiting, but as a college/WCHA hockey fan I miss the quality teams Minnesota used to have.

      • MNStateOfHockey

        This is such a common misconception. Minnesota has recruited outside the state more under Don Lucia than they had in the past 30-40 years. And look what that has got them. Minnesota still produces, by a long mile, more D1 hockey talent than any other state. And as is evident from the jump in the number of MN born hockey players in the NHL over the past 5 years from 28 players to 45 (again by a long mile more than any other state), the quality of players coming from Minnesota is only improving. There is plenty of talent coming out of Minnesota. The Gophers do not need to increase their recruiting out of state beyond what they are currently doing under Lucia. Instead, they need to target the RIGHT players within the state. They are currently losing far too many players early (13 players leaving after only 1 year in the last 3 years will kill any program). And Don Lucia needs to clean house on his staff. Far too many players are not developing, and that is clearly a coaching issue. It is no coincidence that the Gopher’s slide has coincided with both the implementation of the new NHL CBA (leaving teams thirsty for young, cheap talent) and the departure of both Guentzel and Motzko for other programs (and replacing them with inexperienced or ineffective assistants). If they are going to keep Lucia, force him to bring in some new assistant coaches. Then start targeting a healthy mix of blue chip players and quality guys you know will stick around for 3-4 years. Look within the state first and then suppliment from outside the state.

        • hockeyfan

          Wouldn’t be so sure about that. My son plays in the USHL and a Minnisota coach came to watch and told him that they are looking to recruit more players outside of Minn. FACT !

        • chickenstrip6

          I agree with you, but I think the problem is that recruits view minnesota as a stepping stone to the NHL, instead of actually wanting to better the program. They lose all the good talent they get before they can take advantage of it. And you can’t blame them, there isn’t a better team in the ncaa to get noticed on and make it into the pros.

      • M.E.

        Actually to correct you, there was no one from Wisconsin on the Gophers roster during their back to back titles. If you’re referring to Kessel he was not on those teams.

    • Mike

      Maybe someone knows the answer to this because I don’t. Does any team lose more players their Sophmore or Junior year? It seems that sometimes our recruits are sooooo good that we never get to see these players as they mature. This year they “out skilled” and “out played” a lot of teams. It just seems that they lacked the strength and stamina to put opponents away.

    • bulldog4life

      I just think it’s funny you and others call them recruits. Lucia has an easy job. He doesn’t recruit, he selects his team. Why not go where the money is. You have to give the smaller schools like BSU, SCSU, and MSU credit for sticking with them whithout the luxery of selecting from 50 guys that want to come in. I wish I had a job that paid me 5 million a year to do nothing but select from the “best” there is and do nothing with them. His players hate him. If you couldn’t see that against Alaska, you won’t. They gave up on him and the program.
      As far as the team losing the most underclassmen ever (MN). Did you ever think that maybe it’s because the program is so messed up that the pro teams want to get them out before they actually get worse. Think about it!

      • Adam

        this is just ridiculous, you overthought everything and are completely wrong

  • Kiyomark2000

    I think part of the problem with Lucia is that ever since that illness he has changed. The players don’t seem to get fired up like has been said. They don’t realize the total effort and to play desperately. They seem to lack emotion and that does reflect on the coach. Even though Mosko(not sure of spelling) hasn’t made it yet at St. Cloud State, he was important to the team and did inspire the players more than is done now. Another problem is that other coaches like Jerry York adjust to the situation and will change things in between periods and may change there style to adjust to that but that seems to be lacking with the gophers. Lucia tried to adjust the lines and when it would work like against North Dakota or others he would revert or change again. He would break up a line that was working. Also Baribal is a good player but the team seemed to change when he got back as they had built themselves into team effort during his absence. Actually it hurt more when Matsen went out.. Another thing this is missing is that Don’s team would get stronger as the season goes on and would be ready for the regionals.It has been hard to be a gopher fan the last 3 years or so but I always will be one no matter what even though my wife is a Michigan fan.

  • siouxfanforlife

    I agree with Kiyomark. Ever since Lucia has developed his health problems, he hasn’t seemed like the same coach, and his teams certainly haven’t played the same. Do I like seeing the gophers struggle? Of course. But at the same time, a part of me misses playing a decent, respectable Gopher team year in and year out. Of course they have gotten the best of the Sioux sometimes, but in this league, anyone can with on any weekend if things go their way (example: Michigan Tech at Denver). I don’t want to see Blais as a Gopher, but I do think that would be about the best thing that could happen to that program in a number of years.

  • Mnruuddog

    @UNDNorthStars… do you mean University of Minnesota Alum Dean Blais?

    • Anonymous

      Not quite sure what you mean.. I mentioned that no one wants Dean Blais to go to Minnesota except Minnesota. Cutting your losses was referring to Lucia.

      • MNStateOfHockey

        Dean Blais wants Dean Blais to go to Minnesota.

  • Gopherit

    typical Sioux fans. nothing better to do than troll. Back to the meth labs boys

    • TheWeasel

      Really, there are more drug problems in the northern minnesota than the worst areas of north dakota. Look at the warroad/roseau area. Look at all of the hippie treehugger liberals.

      • Adam

        North Dakotas worse

    • Anonymous

      Cant think of 1 person I went to HS with that i’ve heard did Meth… everyone I have ever heard talk about it is from Minnesota…. especially in the DGF area outside Moorhead which is Minnesota.

    • Skutle52

      typical gopher fans, cant defend their teams without sounding like a 4 year old

  • Mike

    This is the most highly coveted job in NCAA hockey. There isn’t a coach out there who wouldn’t want to come to Minnesota where the best pool of players comes from, and to try to elevate it. I think he should step down and see who comes to the plate.

    • Hockey God

      There are coaches who wouldn’t go to MN. Do you think York or Haskstol would leave what they have to go to MN?

    • Skutle52

      Not true anymore, the U of M program has been watered down and is no longer the most prestigious. It may offer the most money and a few great individual players, but if a coach wants success he’d be far better off in many other places.

  • CoolHand

    For all those who are speculating that Dean Blais would go to Minnesota if the position were to open up… Coach Blais

  • Csmacarthur

    Dean Blais will retire after coaching at UNO.

    • TheWeasel

      Are you speaking for him? Your statement has no credibility. If you are speaking for him this website would be quoting csmacarthur in a separate, more important article. Blais and Lucia are in two different categories.

      Wait and see the next few recruiting classes that UNO has. Top prospects will choose to go there to play for a quality coach.

      • Mike

        Only Canadians who don’t know any better and students who want easy academics would go to Omaha. The place is a dump. Blais is a good coach, however. In the NCAAs it isn’t about the coaching. It’s about biding one’s time and then going pro. That’s been the problem with Minnesota. The boys have been too soft, wanting to save the injuries until they have their pro contracts. Minnesota may not be good for a long time unless students are committed to at least 3 years.

        • TheWeasel

          The world would agree UofM is the only one with that problem. Thanks for trying to defend your subpar program

        • TheWeasel

          Thanks Mike for pointing out that the goofs have a different problem with players going pro. You should take a look at Wisc and Denver last year. It probably has nothing to do with coaching, you are right

          • MNStateOfHockey

            Minnesota isn’t the only program that deals with this issue, and I am the last person that will say coaching and development aren’t an issue, but no program has dealt with the quantity of early departures that MN has. No other program has lost as many as 13 players after only 1 year in the last 3 years (and that is only the departures after 1 year and doesn’t include losing guys like Buddish, Matson, and Barriball multiple seasons due to injury)

        • B.D.

          I recall nothing at UNO that would cause me to categorize it as a dump.
          Do you have something against my Canadian brothers?

    • MNStateOfHockey

      Then why did he ask for an “out” in his contract should he be offered the MN job? Don’t fool yourself. He’d pack his bags today if he were offered the job.

    • Hockey God

      Blaise played at MN and would jump at the chance to coach there.

      • B.D.

        Not so sure. Coaching at Minnesota comes with some baggage one would have to be willing to put up with.

  • Jdorf40

    I hope Minnesota does re-sign Lucia. For 1, he hasn’t been able to meet expectations for the past few years and 2, it means I can still love Dean Blais. I miss Dean Blais like crazy as a Sioux fan, but if he was to go back to Minnesota…it would be all over for me. Plus, I can actually support UNO because of Blaiser. If the Sioux don’t do well, I have somebody to root for.

  • Adam

    if we could get a whole team of Jacob Cepis’ we would go undefeated

    • Hockey God

      Cepis is the best at taking dives I’ve ever seen.

  • Rider19

    He might be a good coach in some program, but he’s lost it at Minnesota. And you are absolutely right about the hard nosed players. Tons of talent on the Goofs this year but no grit, no hitting, no blocking shots, no little things. Just a bunch of high end talent not willing to work.

  • CoolHand

    Dean Blais’ comments after signing his contract extension,”The university is clearly committed to the success of the hockey program, and I am committed to the job we began here last season,” said Blais. “My wife and I have come to enjoy Omaha and with this extension, I anticipate being able to finish my head coaching career here at UNO.” This sounds as if he will finish his coaching career at UNO if things go well. It may be a dream for those Gopher fans wishing for Blais to become head coach

    • Billyj

      What would you expect Blais to say??? ” Thanks for the extension, the money is nice but Omaha sucks, and I plan to leave as soon as Minn. offers me a job!!” ?????

  • Djs

    If only the Gophers had all Tyler Matsons on board..dude hassles all the time..

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