Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Gophers land Motzko as new coach

It sure didn't take long for Minnesota to make a decision on its next hockey coach.

St. Cloud State's Bob Motzko will take over for Don Lucia, the U announced on Tuesday, one week after Lucia resigned from the job.

Motzko was an assistant for Lucia from 2001 to 2005, helping the Gophers win two national titles, before becoming the head coach at St. Cloud State. In 13 seasons with the Huskies, his teams went to eight NCAA tournaments and one Frozen Four.

This postseason the Huskies were a favorite to win the national title, entering the West Regional in Sioux Falls as the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. But they were upset by Air Force, and that allowed Minnesota, which missed the NCAAs, to move on Motzko quickly.

Motzko seemed to be a favorite for the job as soon as it opened, along with longtime Gophers assistant Mike Guentzel and Northern Michigan coach Grant Potulny, a former U assistant and player under Lucia. Minnesota State's Mike Hastings was also mentioned as a possible candidate.

Now the question will be who gets the St. Cloud State job. Hastings is an alum but is one year into a 10-year contract worth more than $330,000 annually with MSU, another MnSCU school. That was a contract that kept him away from discussions with Nebraska Omaha, where he had close ties. Hard to imagine St. Cloud State being able to top that.

More coverage on the Motzko hiring from the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press and St. Cloud Times.

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