Legendary Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach and All-American forward Doug Woog passed away at the age of 75 on Saturday. Woog had been battling Parkinson’s Disease since 2014. Woog was the head coach of the Pride on Ice from 1985 until 1999. His 388 career wins was a Minnesota record until Don Lucia eclipsed his mark in 2015. Woog was also an All-American forward playing for another Gopher coaching legend in John Mariucci. Woog played from 1964-1966 as freshmen were not allowed to play in those days.
The South St. Paul native led the Packers to four straight trips up the road to St. Paul for the State High School Tournament. He was named to the all-tournament team in three of those seasons and was the tournament’s leading scorer in 1962. He then moved onto the U under the tutelage of Mariucci. In three seasons in the maroon and gold Woog would total 101 career points scoring 48 goals in 80 games. He would earn First Team All-America and All-WCHA First Team honors in his junior season leading Minnesota with 26 goals and 47 points. He added the captain’s C to his jersey the next season.
Woog would play internationally for the US National team in 1967 and would try out for the 1968 Olympic team before getting cut. Woog’s playing career was over, but what he would become most known for was just beginning.
Woog began his coaching career with the Minnesota Junior Stars and led them to two Junior National titles before returning to coach his high school alma mater in 1977. In six years behind the bench for the Packers Woog took South St. Paul to two conference titles and four trips to the St. Paul Civic Center where the most painful moment of his coaching career would also occur.
Woog would be an assistant coach on the 1984 Olympic squad before taking over the reigns of the Gophers in the fall of 1985. in 14 seasons as the head coach of the Gophers he would lead Minnesota to a then record 12 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, six trips to the Frozen Four, and was one half of an inch away from a NCAA Championship in St. Paul in 1989. The Gophers would win plenty of hardware though taking home four MacNaughton Cups as WCHA regular-season champions and three Broadmoor Trophies as WCHA playoff champions during his tenure. Thirteen Gophers earned their way up on the Mariucci Mural under Woog while two would also add their own individual hardware as Hobey Baker Award winners. (Robb Stauber (1988) and Brian Bonin (1996))
Woog’s tenure at Minnesota did not end as well as many would have liked, but he remained a fixture around the program even after relinquishing the coaching job to Lucia. Woog worked for Gopher Sports Properties helping to sell suites in both Mariucci and Williams arena and then took over another role in which he is probably most famous to anyone 30 or younger.
Woog would team up with Frank Mazzocco to broadcast the Gophers games on TV for Fox Sports North from the early 2000s through the 2010-11 season. Woog remained on the air for FSN in a pregame capacity until the end of the 2014 season.
He was named to the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002, and in 2015 the City of South St. Paul renamed Wakota Arena Doug Woog Arena for his contributions to the city and to Minnesota Hockey.
As the news of Woog’s death broke Saturday afternoon remembrances of him came flooding in from across the Minnesota Hockey community:
#Wooger That human puppy who loved to have his ears scratched. And we loved to scratch them. I learned tons about the game working next to him. And his fans need to know Doug was more than hockey - he had a thirst for knowledge across many subjects #RIP And Thanks Dougie!— Frank Mazzocco (@MazzPuck) December 14, 2019
The hockey world lost a true treasure today. The Wooger meant so much to so many and his impact on the game is one of the greatest in our States history. True Minnesota Gold!— Bob Motzko (@BMotzko) December 15, 2019
Fortunate to coach Doug’s sons and learn so much about the game from Doug when I started coaching hockey. He was a friend and a mentor and he will be missed. Condolences to the Woog family. #RIP— Mike Guentzel (@mlghockey) December 14, 2019
Wooger was one of the good ones. Saddened to hear about his passing. Nobody could make you smile like he could. Never met a more generous person in my life. It was an honor to coach your camps and have you call out games. RIP coach. https://t.co/pKi2OZNK6n— Alex Kangas (@Kanger_Banger) December 15, 2019
Saddened to hear of the passing of Minnesota hockey legend Doug Woog. One of the true ambassadors for our game.— WCHA Men's Hockey (@WCHA_MHockey) December 15, 2019
Rest easy, Wooger. pic.twitter.com/dPxIkv8rpI
Rest In Peace Coach Woog. Thank you so much for your guidance on and off the ice. I’ll never forget your help in making many of my dreams come true. #Wooger— Ben Clymer (@ben_clymer) December 15, 2019
We lost a great man today in Doug Woog’s passing. My condolences to the Woog family during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing the Wooger w/ the hockey world. Thank you Doug Woog for giving me (and so many others) a chance @GopherHockey such a great head start on life!— Ben Hankinson (@BenHankinson) December 15, 2019
Heaven just gained an incredible soul....so many stories so many examples of what a tremendous human being he was.— Kevin Gorg (@FSNGorg) December 15, 2019
Thanks for being so good to me and being my friend Wooger...my goodness will you be missed.
Thinking of and praying for the Woog family.
A big loss for the Minnesota hockey community today with the passing of Doug Woog. He will be missed. Say a prayer for he and his family. https://t.co/zLtHGu4sQI— lou.nanne (@NanneLou) December 15, 2019
With appreciation for the many contributions of long-time Gophers hockey coach Doug Woog. Sending gratitude and sympathy to his family. https://t.co/IBbNGZDqyX— Joan Gabel (@JoanGabel) December 15, 2019
If you are either a Gopher fan or a college hockey fan between the ages of 15 and 80 you probably have your own Doug Woog story. It was impossible not to. He was a true ambassador of Minnesota hockey, and the University of Minnesota. Nothing but class all around. RIP Wooger.