Former Gophers hockey coach Doug Woog passes away at 75

Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko summed up Doug Woog’s passing at the age of 75 on Saturday by saying, “we lost a true Minnesota treasure today.” Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting the former Gophers hockey star and coach would agree. Woog was a Minnesota hockey legend both on the ice and behind the bench and he was an even better guy.

“Doug Woog bled Maroon & Gold as both a player and as a coach, and his legacy is one of the greatest in the history of the University of Minnesota,” Gopher hockey coach Bob Motzko said. “Wooger’s dedication and contributions to hockey in the state of Minnesota are immeasurable as are the number of people impacted by his lifetime of work. He will be remembered fondly by all and forgotten by none.”

Woog had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2010.

Woog was a first-team all-state player in three of his four seasons at South St. Paul High School, leading the Packers to four state tournament appearances. Woog was the leading scorer in the tournament in 1962 — his No. 7 jersey was retired by South St. Paul High in 2010 — and he went on to become a star at the University of Minnesota. Woog had 101 points, including 48 goals, in 80 career games for the Gophers in the mid-1960s and was an All-America selection in his junior season.

Woog began coaching in 1971 and guided the Minnesota Junior Stars (later the St. Paul Vulcans) to two Junior National titles before he took the job at  South St. Paul High School in 1977. Woog led the Packers to four state tournament appearances in six seasons. Woog also was involved with the United States hockey program and served as an assistant for the 1984 Olympic team that competed in Sarajevo.

The following season, Woog was named the Gophers coach and in 14 seasons he led the program to 12 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and six trips to the Frozen Four. Woog’s teams also won the WCHA regular-season title four times and the WCHA playoff championship three times.

“Coach Woog was one of a kind,” Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle said. “He had a huge heart, an engaging personality and everyone he encountered loved him. From playing to coaching to commenting, his impact on hockey, the Gophers and the state of Minnesota is immeasurable. To many, he is Gopher hockey. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time.”

Woog was named the WCHA Coach of the Year in 1990 and had 388 career victories, a program record that was broken by his successor, Don Lucia. Lucia won 457 games. Woog was replaced by Lucia in 1999 but he remained around the program, working as an analyst for Fox Sports North until the end of the 2013-14 season.

Woog was inducted into the University of Minnesota ‘M’ Club Hall of Fame in 2000 and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. He was awarded the John McInnes Award, which recognizes “great concern for amateur hockey and youth programs,” by the American Hockey Coaches Association in 2008.