Minneapolis, MN (KROC-AM News) - Longtime Minnesota Gophers Men’s Hockey Coach Don Lucia is retiring. The University of Minnesota issued a statement today announcing Lucia’s decision to step down from the head coaching position he has held for 19 years.

“I want to thank Mark Dienhart for giving me a tremendous opportunity 19 years ago. I came to Minnesota because of the tradition, and I hoped to add to the tradition when I left. I am proud of the 14 banners that have been added to the rafters of 3M Arena at Mariucci. I am forever grateful to all the coaches, staff and most importantly the players who have worked so hard to accomplish this over the years,” said Lucia. “Most importantly to me, we did it the right way. Our players all graduate and have always represented themselves to the high standards of Gopher Hockey on and off the ice. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to be the head hockey coach at the University of Minnesota.”

Lucia has 736 career wins coaching collegiate hockey, including 457 victories with the Minnesota Gophers. He has helped guide the University of Minnesota program to 8 regular season titles, four conference tournament titles, and 5 appearances in the NCAA Frozen Four that resulted in 2 national championships for the Gophers in 2002 and 2003.

While the University of Minnesota conducts a nationwide search for his successor, Lucia has agreed to continue working as a special assistant to the athletic director through June of next year.

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