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Don Lucia steps down after 19 years coaching Gophers hockey

It's now official.

Don Lucia's 19-year run as head coach of the Gophers men's hockey team is over. The Gophers announced this afternoon that Lucia is stepping down. 

In statement, Lucia said: 

"I want to thank Mark Dienhart for giving me a tremendous opportunity 19 years ago. I came to Minnesota because of the tradition, and I hoped to add to the tradition when I left. I am proud of the 14 banners that have been added to the rafters of 3M Arena at Mariucci. I am forever grateful to all the coaches, staff and most importantly the players who have worked so hard to accomplish this over the years," said Lucia.

"Most importantly to me, we did it the right way. Our players all graduate and have always represented themselves to the high standards of Gopher Hockey on and off the ice. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to be the head hockey coach at the University of Minnesota." 

Lucia led the Gophers to back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003, and his 457 career victories at the U of M are the most in program history, more than Doug Woog, John Mariucci and Herb Brooks. 

Minnesota stumbled this season to a 19-17-2 record and missed the NCAA Tournament after a freakish weekend of upsets took Minnesota's 98.2 percent chance of making it and threw it out the window. 

Related: 

Gophers had a 98.2 percent chance of making the NCAA Tournament

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