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Herb Brooks

Coached To Olympic Gold

In 1979, Brooks left the University of Minnesota to become coach of the U.S. national team which finished seventh in the world championships. The following year, he was named the coach of the U.S. Olympic team. At the time, players still had to be amateurs, so many of his players were college hockey players. Brooks picked twenty-six players to play the sixty exhibition games in the ten months prior to the Olympic games.

Brooks used this time to develop them into a team, as well as mold them for future professional careers. He also had to figure out which six to drop from the squad as only 20 would play in the Olympics. A demanding coach, he expected much from his players. Brooks also introduced them to a new system of hockey than had previously played in the United States. Brooks was inspired by Europeans to develop "American hockey." It used an aggressive forecheck with a puck possession strategy. While it was good for international play, it was hard to learn.

Though Team USA lost to the U.S.S.R. team in one of the last exhibition games 10-3 in New York City, Brooks' squad beat them when it mattered in tournament play. Team USA won 4-3 in an upset victory dubbed the Miracle on Ice. The Americans went on to defeat Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal. These victories made Brooks and his team heroes in the United States. However, Brooks declined to capitalize on his success right away. Brooks could have coached in the NHL right away, but he chose to go to Switzerland. He coached there for one season, for Daro in the Swiss Elite League, but it did not work out.

Chronology

1937 Born August 5 in St. Paul, Minnesota
1959 Graduates from the University of Minnesota
1960 Is last player cut from U.S. Olympic squad
1961 Named to the U.S. national team
1962 Member of U.S. national team
1964 Plays for Team USA at the Winter Olympics
1965 Member of U.S. national team
1967 Member of U.S. national team; plays for Team USA at the Winter Olympics
1968 Member of U.S. national team
1969 Serves as assistant coach at the University of Minnesota
1970 Member of U.S. national team; coaches the Minnesota Junior Stars
1972-79 Coaches the University of Minnesota team
1980 Coaches the U.S. hockey team to the "Miracle on Ice"—winning gold medal at the games in Lake Placid, New York
1980-81 Coaches Daro in the Swiss Elite League
1981 Hired as coach of the New York Rangers (NHL)
1985 Fired in January as coach of the New York Rangers
1986-87 Coaches St. Cloud State College, a Division III college hockey team
1987-88 Coaches the Minnesota North Stars (NHL)
c. 1988-90 Works as commentator for Sports Channel America
1991-92 Coaches the Utica Devils (AHL)
1992-93 Coaches the New Jersey Devils (NHL)
c. 1993-99 Works as scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
1998 Coaches Team France at the Winter Olympics
1999-2000 Coaches the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
2002 Coaches Team USA at the Winter Olympics, winning silver medal; awarded the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey; named director of player development for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsHockeyHerb Brooks Biography - Played College Hockey, Played On Usa National Team, Began Coaching Career, Coached To Olympic Gold - CONTACT INFORMATION