The University of Minnesota has agreed to a three-year contract extension with Gopher men’s hockey head coach Bob Motzko that will keep Motzko with the Maroon & Gold through the 2025-26 season. The agreement is subject to Board of Regents approval.
“It’s an honor to lead this program and to follow in the footsteps of some truly legendary coaches here at the University of Minnesota over the last 100 years,” Motzko said. “As a coaching staff, this is always an exciting time of year. You feel the anticipation in the locker room, you feel it on campus, and you feel it throughout the state. This is a special place to coach because of that passion, and I’m very thankful for everyone at the University of Minnesota for continuing to believe in what we are doing here.”
A native of Austin, Minn., Motzko enters his fourth season with the Gophers in 2021-22 and holds a 58-37-11 record since taking over the program in 2018 along with assistant coaches Garrett Raboin and Ben Gordon. In 16 seasons as a Division I head coach, the 2020 Big Ten Coach of the Year and five-time conference coach of the year owns a 334-229-60 record after 13 seasons at St. Cloud State.
“Coach Motzko has done a tremendous job with our men’s hockey program,” said Director of Athletics Mark Coyle. “He leads with integrity, coaches with passion and cares deeply about his student-athletes. His teams consistently compete at a championship level on and off the ice, and I am excited for him to lead the Gophers for years to come.”
Motzko led the ‘U’ to one of its best seasons in recent history last year as the Gophers captured the 2021 Big Ten playoff title, returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017 and won their first NCAA tournament game since 2014. Minnesota, which led the nation with 24 wins last season, also earned its first No. 1 ranking in both national polls since 2014. In continuing that success, the Gophers enter the 2021-22 campaign ranked No. 4 in both national polls and were selected as the preseason favorites to win the Big Ten by conference coaches.
Since taking over the program, Motzko has coached four Gophers to All-America honors including a trio of selections last season in First Team picks Jack LaFontaine and Sampo Ranta and Second Team pick Jackson LaCombe (Rem Pitlick also earned First Team honors in 2019). LaFontaine, who also earned the Mike Richter Award as the top goaltender in college hockey last year, and LaCombe will return to Minnesota this season while Ranta made his NHL debut with the Colorado Avalanche during the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Academically, the Gophers have also flourished under Motzko with the program posting its highest team cumulative grade point averages ever in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 along with a program-record 19 Academic All-Big Ten selections last season.
(photo and info courtesy of Gopher Sports)