Gophers Welcome Back Bob Motzko
A little more than a decade removed from his time on the Minnesota bench as an assistant for two national championship teams, Motzko returns to the ‘U’ as the 15th head coach in program history
MINNEAPOLIS – University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle announced that he has hired Bob Motzko as the new head coach of the Gopher Men’s Hockey program. Motzko, a Minnesota native and an assistant coach for the two most recent Gopher national championship teams, has spent the past 13 years building St. Cloud State into a national program.
“After 13 years competing against Bob, we are excited to welcome him back to Gopher Hockey, where he had so much success as an assistant earlier in his career,” said Coyle. “Bob has a unique perspective on the program. He grew up rooting for the Gophers, he’s coached for the Gophers and he’s coached against the Gophers. He’s spent much of his career and most of his life in Minnesota. He fully understands this program’s historic legacy and its unique place in our state’s culture. I know he will add to the tradition and success Gopher Hockey has enjoyed for nearly 100 years.”
“I am excited and honored for the opportunity to lead Golden Gopher Hockey,” said Motzko. “The rich history and tradition of this program is honored by so many in our state and around the country. We will work tirelessly to make those people proud.”
Motzko was an assistant coach at Minnesota from 2001 to 2005. During his time in the Twin Cities, the Gophers captured back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003. He worked with Hobey Baker Award winner Jordan Leopold, as well as six All-Americans while at Minnesota. He was also on the bench as Minnesota claimed back-to-back WCHA tournament championships in 2003 and 2004.
Following his four years with the Gophers, Motzko spent the past 13 seasons building St. Cloud State into a championship program. The Huskies advanced to the NCAA tournament eight times under his leadership, including a run to the Frozen Four in 2013. Motzko’s teams have earned a spot in the NCAAs five times in the past six years. While in St. Cloud, Motzko helped develop Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc, along with eight All-Americans.
He previously coached collegiate hockey at Miami (OH) and Denver, helping Miami win the CCHA title as associate head coach in 1993. He graduated from St. Cloud State in 1987 as a two-time men’s hockey letter winner. He also served as an assistant under Herb Brooks at his alma mater for one season.
During his college head coaching career, Motzko has been recognized as a conference coach of the year four times, most recently this past season. He won the award twice in the WCHA (2006, 2007) and twice again in the NCHC (2014, 2018).
USA Hockey has twice tasked Motzko with leading the U.S. National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championship. In 2017, Motzko led Team USA to an unbeaten run at the tournament, which culminated in a gold medal – the fourth all-time for the U.S. Motzko returned as head coach for the National Junior Team in 2018, leading the squad to a bronze medal.
Motzko has twice led teams in the United States Hockey League (USHL) as head coach and general manager. He spent four years with the North Iowa Huskies, leading his 1989 team to the Junior A national championship. He was named the league’s coach of the year of that season. He also led the Sioux Falls Stampede for the team’s first two seasons of existence, and was named the league’s GM of the Year in 2000 for his work there.