After playing and coaching hockey for the University of Minnesota, Herb Brooks will be remembered as the engineer behind what Sports Illustrated voted No. 1 on its list of the top 100 moments in sports history.
Brooks, a St. Paul native, began his career in hockey as a member of the St. Paul Johnson hockey team that won the 1955 Minnesota state high school championship. After lettering three years for the University of Minnesota, Brooks was one of the final roster cuts for the 1960 U.S. Olympic team.
Over the next 10 years, Brooks would play on eight U.S. National teams and on the 1964 and 1968 U.S. Olympic teams.
Brooks became the Gophers coach in 1972 and coached the Gophers to three NCAA championships in the next seven seasons (1974, 1976 and1979). The Gophers had an overall record of 167-97-18 under Brooks.
Shortly after the Gophers won the 1979 NCAA title, Brooks was named the coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. With a roster that included 12 Minnesotans, Brooks led the U.S. to the gold medal at the Lake Placid, N.Y., games.
In the semifinals, the U.S. defeated the heavily-favored Soviet team, which had won the gold medal at five of the six previous Winter Olympics, 4-3, in the semifinals. The stunning victory was labeled the "Miracle on Ice." The U.S. team then defeated Finland, 4-2, for the gold medal.
Following the Olympics, Brooks coached a team in Switzerland for one season before becoming the coach of the NHL's New York Rangers in 1981. In his four years with the Rangers, he became the first American-born coach in franchise history to win 100 games.
After the Rangers, he coached St. Cloud State for one season before becoming the coach of the Minnesota North Stars. His NHL coaching career also featured stints with New Jersey and Pittsburgh. He later served as a scout and director of player personnel for Pittsburgh.
Brooks also coached the French Olympic team at the 1998 Winter Games and the U.S. Olympic team at the 2002 Winter Olympics. The 2002 U.S. team defeated the Russians in the semifinals before losing the gold medal game to Canada. The victory over Russia came exactly 22 years to the day after the famous 'Miracle on Ice' game.
"Herb Brooks was a great innovator of the sport of hockey, and it was a great privilege to be able to play for him at the University of Minnesota and for the 1980 Olympic team," Mike Ramsey told the Star Tribune in 2003.
Brooks was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
Teams: Gophers, U.S. Olympic hockey team.