by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com
To understand the magnitude of Herb Brooks’ leadership, before Brooks coached the 1980 Miracle on Ice US Olympic hockey team, he took over a University of Minnesota program in 1972 that was 8-24 the year before him, including a 15-3 loss in one game.
University of Minnesota college hockey:
1971-72 (before Herb) 8-24 record, last place in their conference
1972-73 (with Brooks) 15-16-3
1973-74 NCAA D1 Champions (first in school history)
1974-75 NCAA D1 Runner ups
1975-76 NCAA D1 Champions
1978-79 NCAA D1 Champions
Then, see what happened to USA Hockey without the leadership and drive of Brooks, who moved into professional coaching after 1980 gold in Lake Placid:
1980 Olympics – 6-0-1 record 1st place including 4-3 win over dynasty Soviets
Then USA Hockey without Brooks:
1981 World Championship – 5th place
1982 World Championship – 8th place
1983 World Championship – 9th place – put in ‘B’ pool
1984 Olympics – 7th place (including opening losses to Canada and the Czechs and a 3-3 tie with lowly Norway)
Brooks left college coaching at age 42. He had won 3 NCAA D1 National Championships in 7 years. Think if he had come back to the University of Minnesota after the 1980 Miracle on Ice. He could have possibly set marks past John Wooden and Coach K.
“Herb was able to convince each player, whether he was a goal scoring sniper, a mucker-grinder defenseman, a 4th line special teamer, or even a junk yard brawler, that if he did not do his job, then collectively the team would fail.”
Ross Bernstein, author of ‘America’s Coach” – a book on Herb Brooks
When you think about what Brooks built regarding the Miracle on Ice, it is staggering:
* Greatest moment in United States sports history
* Arguably the greatest upset in sports history
* Led to the greatest call in sports history in “Do you believe in miracles? Yes” by ABC’s Al Michaels
* Far and away the most popular cover in Sports Illustrated history
I am looking forward to sharing my research on the back story of how the Miracle on Ice came to be, as well as the mystique of Lake Placid, which I think is the most inspirational sports site in the country. If you would like more information on the programs I deliver on site to college athletic staffs and teams go here:
College coaches are always looking for resources to grow them as coaches. Here are books and videos I suggest.
– America’s Coach by Ross Bernstein (includes transcripts of Herb’s speeches)
– Herb Brooks: The Inside Story of a Coaching Mastermind by John Gilbert
– The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey
– Gold Medal Strategies by Jim Craig
– The movie Miracle (Disney 2004) starring Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks. If you get the 2 DVD set it includes an interview with Herb Brooks just before he died, where he shared coaching secrets with Kurt Russell.
To watch the recent ESPN 30 for 30 “Of Miracles and Men” on how the Soviets became such a dynasty and how they lost to Team USA copy and paste this to your browser:
This shows how coach Anatoli Tarasov took Soviet hockey from nothing to world domination. His coaching tactics were one of a kind.