Don Lucia out as University of Minnesota hockey coach

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Longtime Minnesota hockey coach Don Lucia is stepping down after a disappointing year that ended with the Gophers missing the NCAA Tournament.

The university announced Lucia’s departure in a statement Tuesday. Lucia, 59, leaves with a year left on his contract and after saying earlier this week that he hoped to stay. His contract has a $315,000 buyout clause.

Lucia headed the Gophers program for 19 seasons that included back-to-back national titles in 2002 and 2003. But they have made the NCAA Tournament only five times in the past 10 seasons.

Lucia is the Gophers’ career wins leader, with a 457-248-73 record. During his 31-year career as a Division I head coach, Lucia has won 736 career games, eighth all-time in NCAA history.