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Miracle Man HERB BROOKS | 1937-2003

DIED Of injuries sustained in a car accident near Minneapolis on
Monday afternoon, the innovative hockey coach Herb Brooks, 66.
One of the giants of U.S. hockey, Brooks was best known as the
strategist behind the "Miracle on Ice" team that won a gold medal
for the U.S. at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, a feat that SI
selected as the premier athletic moment of the 20th century.

Though calculating and demanding as any old-school coach, Brooks
had a modernistic approach to the game, emphasizing speed and
wide-open play. A two-time Olympian ('64, '68) as a forward, he
coached his alma mater, Minnesota, to three national titles in
the 1970s. In his 1980 Olympic post he combined newfangled
methods (psychological profiles to evaluate players) with an
authoritarian manner that often grated on his players and his
bosses at USA Hockey. Still, he molded an unheralded bunch of
college kids into a team that captured the hearts of America. The
U.S.'s 4-3 semifinal win over the Soviet Union, then the best
team in the world, was one of the great upsets in the history of

Brooks went on to coach four NHL teams, the Rangers, North Stars,
Penguins and Devils, putting together a 219-221-66-2 record. He
hated the clutch-and-grab style and was outspoken against hockey
violence. His final coaching stint came during the 2002 Salt Lake
City Olympics, where he guided the NHL stars from the U.S. to a
silver medal, losing to Canada, 5-2, in the final. "For me it's
exciting just to look at an open sheet of ice," Brooks told SI in
1999, "All I see are possibilities." --E.M. Swift