Don Lucia has stepped down after 19 years as the head men's hockey coach at the University of Minnesota.

The announcement comes two days after the Gophers missed the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in the last 10 years.

Lucia came to Minnesota from Colorado College in 1999 and won back-to-back NCAA national championships in 2002 and 2003.

Lucia will remain on staff for a year as a special assistant to athletic director Mark Coyle.

“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.” 

Coyle said: “Gopher Hockey is not just a college hockey program, it’s a cultural institution in the state of Minnesota, built on more than 90 years of success and tradition. Few have contributed as much to that legacy as Don. He knows how much I appreciate everything he has accomplished in his 19 years as head coach, but he and I also agree that it’s time for someone else to lead our program. From his program’s commitment to academic excellence to the banners his teams raised into in our rafters, I can’t thank him enough for what he’s contributed to the success of Gopher Hockey.”

Lucia is Minnesota's all-time winningest head coach with 457 victories.