Motzko leaves St. Cloud State to become coach at Minnesota

Bob Motzko is leaving St. Cloud State after 13 seasons to coach Minnesota (photo: Melissa Wade).

St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko is moving down the road to Minneapolis to become the coach at Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers announced the move Tuesday, one week after Don Lucia stepped down following 19 seasons leading the team.

Motzko, an assistant coach under Lucia at Minnesota from 2001 to 2005, led St. Cloud State to the NCAA tournament eight times in 13 seasons. The Huskies were the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s tournament but lost to Air Force in the first round.

STATS: Bob Motzko coaching history

A former St. Cloud State player, Motzko, 57, was the coach of the U.S. team at the World Junior Championship in each of the past two seasons.

He also was an assistant for his alma mater and at Miami and Denver and twice has been a coach and general manager in the USHL.

He won the 2002 and 2003 national championship as an assistant at Minnesota, and Drew LeBlanc won the Hobey Baker Award in 2013 while playing for Motzko at St. Cloud State.

“After 13 years competing against Bob, we are excited to welcome him back to Gopher Hockey, where he had so much success as an assistant earlier in his career,” Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement. “Bob has a unique perspective on the program. He grew up rooting for the Gophers, he’s coached for the Gophers and he’s coached against the Gophers. He’s spent much of his career and most of his life in Minnesota. He fully understands this program’s historic legacy and its unique place in our state’s culture. I know he will add to the tradition and success Gopher Hockey has enjoyed for nearly 100 years.”

Motzko was the NCHC coach of the year this season, when he led the Huskies to the regular season championship and a 25-9-6 overall record.

“I am excited and honored for the opportunity to lead Golden Gopher Hockey,” Motzko said in a statement. “The rich history and tradition of this program is honored by so many in our state and around the country. We will work tirelessly to make those people proud.”

Only the second head coach in St. Cloud State’s 31-season Division I era, Motzko took over from Craig Dahl in 2005. Motzko produced a 276-192-49 record in his 13 season with the Huskies.

“I want to thank Bob Motzko for helping position St. Cloud State University among the nation’s elite intercollegiate men’s hockey programs,” St. Cloud State athletic director Heather Weems said in a statement. “As an alum of St. Cloud State, Coach Motzko has set a new standard of excellence for the Huskies. This commitment will continue as St. Cloud State begins a national search for its new head coach.”