ESPN reports the following sad news:

Former Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks, who led the Americans to the “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Soviet Union, died Monday in a car accident, a Minnesota state official said.

Brooks, 66, coached the 1980 Olympic team that won the gold medal in Lake Placid, N.Y. He returned to lead the 2002 U.S. Olympic hockey team to a silver medal.

The state official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Brooks was killed in a single vehicle rollover at a highway intersection north of the Twin Cities, the official said.

In August 2002, Brooks took over the role of director of player development for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brooks coached the Minnesota North Stars (1997-98), the New Jersey Devils (1992-93) and the New York Rangers (1981-85), where he reached the 100-victory mark faster than any other coach in franchise history.

Born in St. Paul, Brooks played hockey at the University of Minnesota, where he later coached from 1972 to 1979, winning three national titles and leaving with a 167-99-18 to lead the national team.

He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.

For those of us over 35, the so-called “Miracle on Ice” was a seminal moment in US sports history.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    Absolutely. I remember getting home from church that Sunday morning (we lived on the west coast at the time) to see the last minutes of the game. I cried with excitement when the US won, cried with pride when they received their gold medals and watched the flag raised to the canned “Star Spangled Banner.” Definitely a great sports moment.

    Definitely a sad day today.

  2. Russ says:

    It sure was. What a great day that was, and what champions those men were. I’ll never forget it.