Birthday: August 5, 1937
Died At Age: 66
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Herbert Paul Brooks Jr.
Born in: Saint Paul, MN, US
Famous as: Ice Hockey Coach, Player
Quotes By Herb Brooks
Spouse/Ex-: Patti Brooks (m. 1965–2003)
father: Herbert Sr.
mother: Pauline Brooks
children: Danny, Kelly
Died on: August 11, 2003
place of death: Forest Lake, MN, US
Cause of Death: Car Accident
U.S. State: Minnesota
City: Saint Paul, Minnesota
education: Johnson Senior High School, University of Minnesota
Herbert Paul Brooks Jr. was an American ice hockey player and coach. He started playing ice-hockey early, and made a mark at high school and university. As a player, he represented his country in two Olympics, but could not win a medal. He began to coach the University of Minnesota, and went on to revive their fortunes. He was hired as the coach of the US hockey team for the Olympics. He stressed on fitness, and motivated his players largely by using fear, that they forgot their collegiate rivalries, and found common enemy in their coach. When the winter games finally got underway, most analysts felt that if the US played to the best of their abilities, they could win a bronze medal. The team progressed well, and confronted the Russians in the medals round. It was the height of the Cold War between the super powers, with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan underway, and the US announcing the boycott of the Moscow Olympics. Moreover, the Soviets were considered the favorites. The American beat the Russian, and Brooks and his team were hailed as heroes. Brooks also coached an Olympic silver medal winning US team. After his death, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Childhood & Early Life
Herb Brooks was born on August 5, 1937 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Herbert Brooks, Sr. and Pauline Brooks. He was the oldest of three children, and grew up in a modest duplex, on the East side of St. Paul.
He attended Johnson High School, and led his school to the Minnesota high school title. He continued playing with the University of Minnesota Gophers from 1955 to 1959.
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Career and Later Life
Initially, Herb Brooks was a member of the 1960 Olympic roster but his name was cut just a week before the games. He was disappointed, but worked harder. He made to the team for the next two Olympics, but a medal eluded him.
He began his coaching career in 1969, as an assistant coach for his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, and in the following year, coached the Minnesota Junior Stars.
He became the head coach at the University of Minnesota. The team won three NCAA Division I championships, and a WCHA title between 1974 and 1979.
He finished his collegiate coaching with a record of 175 wins, 101 losses and 20 ties. He was hired to coach the Olympic team in 1979, and hand-picked several Minnesota Boston University players.
To compete with the Soviet Union team specifically, Brooks developed a hybrid of American and Canadian styles, and the faster European style, which emphasized on creativity and teamwork.
He emphasized the need for player fitness believing that one of the reasons the Soviet team had dominated international competition was that many of their opponents were exhausted by the third period.
Just after his Olympic success, he declined coaching in the NHL. Instead, he chose to go to Switzerland. He coached there for one season, for Daro in the Swiss Elite League.
From 1981 to 1985, he coached in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers, where he became the first American-born coach in the Rangers’ team history to win 100 games.
Between 1987 and 2000, he coached the NFL teams such as Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins, and was the Director of Player Personnel for two years before his death.
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Invited to coach the French national team in the 1997 World Championship and the Olympics in Nagano the following year, he found them skilled, but unorganized, and took the 11th spot in Nagano.
Awards & Achievements
Brooks received one of hockey’s most prestigious awards, the Lester Patrick Awards in 2002. The trophy is named after Lester Patrick, a player and coach, who was the developer of ice hockey.
In 2006, he was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The inscription reads: “A man of passion and dedication, Herb Brooks inspired a generation of Americans to pursue any and all dreams”.
In 1980, Brooks was the head coach of the gold medal-winning US Olympic hockey team at Lake Placid that upset the much fancied Soviet team in a match described as the “Miracle on Ice”.
He coached the US squad a second time at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. They beat Russia in the semi-final, but lost to Canada 2-5 in the finals, to take the silver.
Personal Life & Legacy
Brooks married Patti in 1965, and they had two children, Danny and Kelly.
As part of the 25th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” celebration, the Olympic ice arena in Lake Placid, New York, where the United States won the gold medal, was renamed Herb Brooks Arena.
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.
He died in a single car crash, near Forest Lake, Minnesota, on Interstate 35, on August 11, 2003.
This American ice-hockey coach once said, “My recruiting key - I looked for PEOPLE first, athletes second. I wanted people with a sound value system as you cannot buy values”.
More than half of the players on the 1980 US Olympic “Miracle on Ice” men’s team were born in Minnesota, and coached by this Minnesota native.