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Bob Motzko ‘can’t wait’ to take over Gophers hockey

March 29, 2018

Bob Motzko was introduced as the 15th head coach of Gophers mens hockey on Thursday, and he wasted no time making his point.

I fully understand whats in front of me, he said. I think every coach here going back Glen Sonmor has played for a national championship. This is one of the greatest programs in college hockey, and its part of the fabric of our state.

Motzko, 57, was announced as Minnesotas head coach on Tuesday, a week after Don Lucia, coach for 19 years, stepped down.

Motzko, a Gophers assistant coach from 2001-05, had been the head coach at St. Cloud State for the past 13 seasons. He has a long history with the U.

This is my third and final stop at the University of Minnesota, Motzko said. I came here in 1981 as an aspiring hockey player, but Brad (Buetow, former Gophers coach) cut me. So I was going to leave. That summer he recruited me to come back here and he cut me again.

Motzko has agreed to the terms of a five-year contract that will pay him an average base salary of $592,000 a season $2.9 million over the five years. On top of that, hell be eligible to receive performance and academic bonuses.

Motzko will make a base salary of $525,000 for his first season. Don Lucias salary this past season was $612,500. Lucia was scheduled to make $630,000 next season in the final season of his coaching contract, and Lucia will still make that much serving in his new role: special assistant to Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle.

On Thursday, Coyle explained this weeks big hire.

Why Bob Motzko? Coyle said. When I had the chance to meet him for the first time over the weekend, I was incredibly impressed. I always stress: Low ego, high output. ... And Bob Motzko represents that in everything he does.

Motzko met with Coyle and Gophers leadership on Sunday night, and less than 48 hours later he was Minnesotas new man. Sources told the Star Tribune earlier this week he was one of four coaches to interview for the job; the others were Minnesota associate head coach Mike Guentzel, Gophers assistant Scott Bell and Northern Michigan Grant Potulny.

Motzko said he hasnt had time to make decisions about the rest of his coaching staff at Minnesota. Guentzel and Bell could be retained, or Motzko could bring in new assistants.

Motzko opened his statements on Thursday thanking the St. Cloud State hockey program and community. It was a wonderful 13 years. Life-changing, he said. Were forever grateful.

Motzko also said his close relationship with Lucia meant a lot to him over the years.

Perhaps more than anything else in his opening remarks, Motzko said repeatedly that hes just excited to start the job.

To our supporters, the one thing I can tell you is that were going to do it the right way, Motzko said. Were going to be strong in the classroom, outstanding citizens and were going to play the game the right way: fast and skilled, and were going to add a whole lot of toughness. ... Were going to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Im proud to take this program over. Im more excited to get started and get away from the microphone. Im a hockey coach, and I cant wait to get to work.