Herb Brooks at the 1980 Olympics.

Herbert Paul "Herb" Brooks, Jr. (August 5, 1937–August 11, 2003) was an American coach, best known for coaching the U.S. hockey team to a gold medal at the 1980 Olympics in an event known as the "Miracle on Ice".

On November 13, 2006, Brooks was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


Early lifeEdit

Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he played on the high school hockey team that won the 1955 state hockey championship.

Brooks later played hockey at the University of Minnesota and was a member of the 1964 and 1968 United States Olympic teams. He almost made the 1960 Olympic team, only to be cut the week before the Olympic games started. He then sat at home and watched the team he almost made win gold. Later, he coached the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers to three NCAA Division I championships (1974, 1976, and 1979). After being approached by Michigan Tech when head coach John MacInnes died, Brooks coached St. Cloud State University in the mid-1980s. In Minnesota, many consider Brooks the best hockey coach of all time. In 1980, he became the first coach of the United States to lead his team to victory against the USSR in 20 years.

Later careerEdit

Brooks was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.

Brooks later coached in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers, where he became the fastest coach in Rangers' team history to win 100 games. He also coached the Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a long-time head scout for the Penguins from the mid-1990s until the day of his death.

He also coached France in the 1998 Olympics. He again coached the U.S. hockey team at the 2002 Olympics, this time winning a silver medal.

He was inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, posthumously, in 2006.

Death and legacyEdit

Brooks died in a single car accident on the afternoon of August 11, 2003, near Forest Lake, Minnesota, on Interstate 35. He was 66. It is believed that Brooks fell asleep behind the wheel before the accident after driving all night, and neither drugs nor alcohol was responsible.

Brooks was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash, and according to the Minnesota State Patrol, it is likely he would have survived the crash if he had been.[1]

Walt Disney Pictures released a film about the 1980 Olympic team in 2004 called Miracle featuring Kurt Russell playing the part of Brooks (Karl Malden had previously played Brooks in a 1981 television film called Miracle on Ice). Brooks served as a consultant for the film, which was completed shortly before his death. At the end of the movie there is a dedication to Brooks. It states at the end, "He never saw it. He lived it."

Upon the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, the Olympic ice arena in Lake Placid, New York, where the United States won their gold medal, was renamed Herb Brooks Arena. A statue of Brooks depicting his reaction to the victory in the "Miracle" game was erected in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 2003.

An award was created in Herb Brooks name, the Herb Brooks Award, is awarded at the conclusion of the Minnesota State High School League's state hockey tournament to "the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks.

In 2006, Brooks was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category.

Coaching statisticsEdit

Note: GC = Games coached, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OL = Overtime loss, Pts = Points, Pct = Winning percentage

Season Team League GC W L T OL Pts Pct
1972–73 Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA 3415163330.485
1973–74 Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA 3417125390.574
1974–75 Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA 4231101630.750
1975-76 Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA 3823141470.618
1976–77 Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA 4217223370.440
1977–78 Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA 3822142460.605
1978–79 Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA 4432111650.739
1980 USA Olympic Men's Team International Ice Hockey Federation Olympic Gold Medal Team
1980–81 HC Davos National League A 2811161230.411
1981–82 New York Rangers NHL 80392714920.575
1982–83 New York Rangers NHL 80353510800.500
1983–84 New York Rangers NHL 8042299930.581
1984–85 New York Rangers NHL 4515228380.422
1986–87 St. Cloud State Huskies NCAA 3625101510.708
1987–88 Minnesota North Stars NHL 80194813510.319
1991–92 Utica Devils AHL 8034406740.463
1992–93 New Jersey Devils NHL 8440377870.518
1998 France Olympic Men's Team International Ice Hockey Federation 11th-place finish
1999–2000 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 58292450630.543
2002 USA Olympic Men's Team International Ice Hockey Federation Olympic Silver Medal Team
NCAA career totals 308 182 109 17 381 0.619
NHL career totals 507 219 222 66 0 504 0.497


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Fred Shero
Head Coach of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Ted Sator
Preceded by
Tom McVie
Head Coach of the New Jersey Devils
Succeeded by
Jacques Lemaire
Preceded by
Kevin Constantine
Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Succeeded by
Ivan Hlinka
New York Rangers Head Coaches
Patrick • Boucher • L. Patrick • Colville • Cook • M. Patrick • Watson • Pike • Harvey • M. Patrick • Sullivan • Francis • Geoffrion • Francis • Popein • Francis • Stewart • Ferguson • Talbot • Shero • C. Patrick • Brooks • C. Patrick • Sator • Webster • Esposito • Bergeron • Esposito • Neilson • Smith • Keenan • Campbell • Muckler • Tortorella • Low • Trottier • Sather • Renney • Tortorella • Vigneault • Quinn
New Jersey Devils Head Coaches
MacMillan • McVie • Carpenter • Schoenfeld • Cunniff • Brooks • Lemaire • Ftorek • Robinson • Constantine • Burns • Lamoriello • Julien • Sutter

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