Legendary Coach Brooks To Be Named To U.S. Olympic Hall Of Fame

Legendary coach Herb Brooks will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Thursday (Dec. 8) in a ceremony at the Harris Theatre in Chicago.

Brooks, a native of St. Paul, Minn., was the coach of the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. That year, the “Miracle on Ice” saw Brooks lead the Americans, with a team consisting mostly of college players, to an unlikely 4-3 victory over the heavily-favored powerhouse Soviets.

The U.S. subsequently sealed the gold medal with a win over Finland, cementing Brooks’ stature among the game’s greatest head coaches. He had previously led Minnesota to NCAA championships in 1974, 1976 and 1979, during a seven-year stint behind the Gopher bench over which he compiled a 192-108-19 record.

Before those achievements as a bench boss, Brooks was a player for Minnesota, and a member of the 1964 and 1968 U.S. Olympic teams as well.

Brooks had several stints as a head coach in the NHL, with the New York Rangers (1981-85), the Minnesota North Stars (1987-88), the New Jersey Devils (1992-93) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-00). He made one more foray to the Olympics in 2002, leading the U.S. to a silver medal, this time with a squad composed mostly of NHL players.

He also coached collegiately at St. Cloud State, as well as for the 1998 French Olympic team.

Brooks was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, and to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1999.

1980 Olympic team members Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione and Jack O’Callahan will be part of the award ceremony. Robert Owen, Robert McVey and Weldon Olson, members of the gold-medal winning 1960 U.S. Olympic team from which Brooks was the final player cut, are also expected to be present for Brooks’ induction.

Brooks’ wife Patti, son Dan and daughter Kelly will be in attendance to accept the honor on his behalf. Brooks died in a single-car accident in central Minnesota on August 11, 2003, while returning home from a fundraising event for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Also scheduled to be inducted into the Olympic hall Thursday are the 1984 U.S. men’s gymnastics Olympic team; Olympians Evelyn Ashford, Rowdy Gaines, Bob Hayes, Shannon Miller and Kristi Yamaguchi; Paralympian Diana Golden-Brosnihan; Jack Shea in the veterans category; and Dick Ebersol as a special contributor.

The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Presented by Allstate Induction Ceremony is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. CST. Jim Lampley will host.

In addition, a nationally-televised special will air on NBC on Jan. 1, 2006, at 2:30 p.m. EST, reliving the moments that catapulted the Class of 2006 inductees to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame status.