The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation is pleased to announce its 2024 Legend of College Hockey recipient as Don Lucia from the University of Minnesota.

Lucia began his coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (1981-85) followed by the University of Alaska Anchorage (1985-87). In 1987, Lucia would return to Alaska Fairbanks, but this time as head coach where he would remain for the next six years and coach his team to four winning seasons. In his first year as head coach, the Nanooks won the Great West Hockey Conference championship, and he was named the league’s Coach of the Year. In 1993, Lucia became the head coach of Colorado College where he guided the program to an unprecedented three-straight regular season WCHA titles in his first three years at the helm. He helped the Tigers to an appearance in the 1996 championship game and the 1997 NCAA Frozen Four semifinals. At the end of the 1993-94 season, Lucia was the 44th recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award as the National Coach of the Year selected by the American Hockey Coaches Association. During his time at Colorado College, Lucia tied Jeff Sauer as the second-winningest head coach in program history. In 1999, he took over the University of Minnesota program where he would coach for 19 seasons. Lucia led the Gophers to two national titles (2002, 2003), four MacNaughton Cups, three Broadmoor trophies, and a Big Ten regular season championship in each of the league’s first four seasons.

In 31 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Lucia compiled a 736-403-102 record, and is Minnesota’s all-time winningest coach with 457 wins for the Gophers. He is one of 10 coaches to record more than 600 NCAA men’s hockey wins, and one of six to win national titles in back-to-back seasons. Lucia has 22 NCAA tournament victories in18 career tournament appearances. Five of those appearances are from his time at Colorado College, which makes Lucia the only coach other than Jerry York to lead two different schools to at least five NCAA tournament appearances. Lucia continues to be active in collegiate hockey, currently serving as the commissioner of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) since the conference’s reorganization in 2021. Under Lucia’s leadership, the CCHA has experienced substantial growth, expanding from 7 teams in 2021 to its current 9 teams.

As a player, Lucia attended the University of Notre Dame where he was a defenseman on the men’s hockey team from 1977-1981. He was selected 168 overall in the 1978 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Lucia coached 12 Hobey Baker Award finalists, including winner Jordan Leopold (2001-02). In addition, he coached 19 First Team All-Americans, 73 all-conference players, nine conference defensive players of the year and three conference rookies of the year.

Coach Lucia will be honored along with this year’s Hobey Baker Award winner at the annual Hobey Baker Award Banquet and golf outing this summer in St. Paul, Minnesota.

(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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