August 11, 2003
Brooks Killed in One-Car Accident

By Mike Eidelbes

Herb Brooks, who guided the University of Minnesota to three national championships and led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to a gold medal in one of the greatest moments in American sports history, died Monday in a one-car accident in Forest Lake, Minn. He was 66.

Brooks was traveling alone in his 2000 Toyota minivan, and no other vehicles were involved. The incident took place at 3:44 p.m. ET just north of Minneapolis. He was on his way to a speaking engagement in Chicago.

"This is tragic loss for the entire Minnesota hockey family," said current Golden Gopher coach and Grand Rapids, Minn., native Don Lucia, who was recruited by Brooks as a high school senior before deciding to attend Notre Dame. "He was a pioneer for Minnesota's 'Pride on Ice.' When you think of the legends of Golden Gopher hockey, you think of John Mariucci, John Mayasich and Herb Brooks. He was an inspiration to me."

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Brooks, a native of St. Paul, was a three-year letterwinner for the Golden Gophers under legendary coach John Mariucci from 1957-59, and his playing career included stints with the U.S. Olympic teams in 1964 and 1968.

"People forget he was a very good hockey player, and was the co-captain of the 1964 Olympic Team," USA Hockey chairman of the board Walter Bush said. "He turned his playing ability, passion and personality into a great coaching career."

Brooks took over as the head coach at his alma mater in 1972 and in seven years behind the Minnesota bench guided the Golden Gophers to five WCHA championships and NCAA titles in 1974, 1976 and 1979.

He left the Gophers after the 1979 campaign to become the head coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Brooks took the collection of collegians to the second gold medal in the nation's Olympic hockey history, a run highlighted by a stunning semifinal win over the legendary Soviet Union team and a victory over Finland in the championship game.

The Herb Brooks File
Born: Aug. 5, 1937; St. Paul, Minn.
Playing Career: University of Minnesota (1955-59), United States Olympic Team (1964 and 1968), U.S. National Team (1960-61, 1965, 1967, 1970).
Coaching Career: University of Minnesota (1972-79), U.S. Olympic Team (1980 and 2002), New York Rangers (1981-85), St. Cloud State (1986-87), Minnesota North Stars (1987-88), New Jersey Devils (1992-93), French Olympic Team (1998), Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-2000).
Career Highlights: Led Minnesota to NCAA Championships in 1974, 1976 and 1979; Led 1980 U.S. Olympic Team to gold medal at Lake Placid Games; Led 2002 U.S. Olympic Team to gold medal at Salt Lake City Games.
Career Honors: WCHA Coach of the Year (1974), U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee (1990), International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame inductee (1999), Lester Patrick Award winner (2002).

After the Olympic triumph, Brooks moved on to the professional ranks, coaching the New York Rangers from 1981-85. He returned to his roots in 1986, taking over as head coach at St. Cloud State for one season before moving on to assume the reins behind the Minnesota North Stars' bench. His NHL resume also included stops at New Jersey (1992-93) and Pittsburgh (1999-2000). Brooks' last coaching stint was in Salt Lake City, where he helped the U.S. Olympic team to a silver medal at the 2002 Olympic Games.

"He was Minnesota's head coach," Minnesota Gov.Tim Pawlenty said in a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol in Brooks' hometown. "Herb Brooks never forgot where he came from and who he was. He brought us to our feet cheering his hockey greatness."

Brooks is survived by his wife, Patti, and two adult children, Dan and Kelly.

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