Don Lucia’s 19-year run as Gophers men’s hockey coach is over. A look at his Minnesota career:
April 9, 1999: Colorado College’s Don Lucia, 40, is named Gophers coach, three days after Doug Woog resigned following 14 years as coach.
1999-2000: The Gophers finish 20-19-2 and in sixth place in the WCHA in Lucia’s first season. They do not make the NCAA tournament.
2000-01: The Gophers go 27-13-2, finish third in the WCHA and make the NCAA tournament, where they fall 5-4 in overtime to Maine in the first round.
2001-02: The Gophers cap a breakthrough season with a 4-3 overtime victory over Maine in the NCAA championship game at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota tied the score on Matt Koalska’s goal with 53 seconds left in the third period and won it when Grant Potulny scored 16:58 into overtime, ending the Gophers’ 23-year national championship drought. The Gophers finished 32-8-4, and defenseman Jordan Leopold won the Hobey Baker Award
2002-03: Led by freshman Thomas Vanek, Minnesota beats Michigan and New Hampshire in the Frozen Four in Buffalo, N.Y., to become the first team to repeat as national champions since Boston University in 1971 and ’72. The Gophers finish 28-8-9 and win the WCHA Final Five, too.
2003-04: The Gophers’ quest for a three-peat ends with a 3-1 regional final loss to Minnesota Duluth. The season ends with a 27-14-3 record, and the Bulldogs were the Gophers’ nemesis, going 5-1 against them.
2004-05: Minnesota wins the NCAA West Regional at Mariucci with overtime victories over Maine and Cornell. The Gophers join three other WCHA teams in the Frozen Four in Columbus, Ohio, but fall 4-2 to North Dakota in the semifinals and finish 28-15-1.
2005-06: A stacked team led by Ryan Potulny and freshman Phil Kessel finishes 27-9-5 and wins the WCHA regular-season title but flames out in the playoffs. The Gophers go 0-2 in the WCHA Final Five before suffering what might be Lucia’s most embarrassing loss — 5-4 in overtime to underdog Holy Cross in the NCAA first round in Grand Forks, N.D.
2006-07: Minnesota wins both the WCHA regular-season and Final Five titles — the latter when Blake Wheeler’s diving goal beats North Dakota 3-2 in overtime. But the Fighting Sioux get their revenge a week later with a 3-2 overtime win in the West Regional final, leaving the Gophers with a 31-10-3 mark.
2007-08: The Gophers finish seventh in the WCHA before losing 5-2 to Boston College in the NCAA first round. A 19-17-9 record is the sign of things to come.
2008-09 through 2010-11: The Gophers miss the NCAA tournament for three consecutive years, and Lucia posts his only losing season as Minnesota coach with an 18-19-2 mark in 2009-10. During this stretch, he dealt with Lucia battled sarcoidosis, an autoimmune that required intravenous steroids as treatment, which took a toll on him by causing periods of hyperactivity and angry outbursts.
2011-12: Led by Erik Haula, Kyle Rau and Nick Bjugstad, the Gophers go 28-14-1, win the WCHA regular-season title and beat North Dakota in the NCAA West Regional final. In their fourth Frozen Four under Lucia, they fall 5-1 to Boston College.
2012-13: A 26-9-5 season ends with a 3-2 overtime loss to eventual NCAA champion Yale in the first round.
2013-14: The Gophers win the inaugural Big Ten regular-season title, then return to the national title game for the first time since 2003 when Justin Holl scores with 0.6 seconds left in regulation to beat North Dakota 2-1 in the NCAA semifinals in Philadelphia. Two days later, Union overpowers the Gophers 7-4 as Minnesota finishes 28-7-6.
2014-15: Another Big Ten title follows, but the Gophers fall 4-1 to Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA first round and finish 23-13-3.
2015-16: Needing a victory over Michigan in the Big Ten tournament title game, the Gophers fall 5-3, finish 20-17 and miss the NCAA tournament.
2016-17: Minnesota wins its fourth consecutive Big Ten regular-season title an earns a No. 1 regional seed before losing 3-2 to Notre Dame in an NCAA first-round game it led 2-0.
2017-18: A wildly inconsistent Gophers team finishes fifth in Big Ten and is swept by Penn State in the conference quarterfinals. Still, Minnesota looked as if it would make the NCAA tournament — until six conference title games on Saturday night had finishes that dropped the Gophers behind Minnesota Duluth in the PairWise Ratings, ending their NCAA hopes.
March 20, 2018: Lucia steps down, finishing with a 457-248-73 record in 19 years with the Gophers and a 736-403-102 mark in 31 years as a head coach at Alaska Fairbanks, Colorado College and Minnesota.