Men’s hockey coach, Don Lucia signs two-year contract extension

The coach signed a contract extension Thursday morning and will remain in the same role for at least two more years.

Gophers men's hockey coach Don Lucia sits down to talk with Hutchinson locals at the last leg of the Gopher Road Trip: Chalk Talk at the Crow River Golf Club in Hutchinson, Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3.

Alex Tuthill-Preus

Gophers men’s hockey coach Don Lucia sits down to talk with Hutchinson locals at the last leg of the Gopher Road Trip: Chalk Talk at the Crow River Golf Club in Hutchinson, Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3.

Drew Cove

Men’s hockey head coach Don Lucia signed a contract extension Thursday morning to remain in the same role for at least two more years.

“It’s truly an honor to coach this program, and I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished here at the University of Minnesota,” Lucia said in a statement. “We have high expectations for ourselves just like we know people have high expectations for us, and our program is proud of the bar we have set.”

Lucia came into this season in the last year of his contract, and knew he was close to an extension, he said Wednesday.

“I feel good about the talks we’ve had.” Lucia said. “I don’t think it’s going to be on the back burner [until the season ends].”

Lucia alluded that talks were getting close, and those culminated Thursday in the two-year extension Lucia signed through the 2018-2019 season.

Entering this season, Lucia has an all-time record of 415-219-68 with the Gophers. The team won back-to-back NCAA championships in 2002 and 2003.

The team missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011 last season and finished with a 20-17-0 overall record.

Minnesota has won five consecutive conference titles, including the first three titles awarded in the Big Ten.

“Our men’s hockey program continues to raise banners at Mariucci Arena while also performing at a high level academically and graduating student-athletes,” athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement. “I’m excited to watch Coach Lucia and his team defend their Big Ten title and pursue deep runs into the NCAA tournament in upcoming seasons.”