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Steve Miller joining Gophers men as program's associate head coach

A winner of NCAA titles with Denver and Providence comes to Minnesota after helping Ohio State to its first modern era Big Ten crown

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Minnesota Gophers associate head coach Steve Miller spent the previous five seasons in a similar role at Ohio State, where he helped lead the Buckeyes to the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four and to the 2019 Big Ten regular season title.
Contributed / Ohio State University Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS – Roughly five months ago, talented defenseman Cole Miller decided the Twin Cities would be the place he would try college hockey and committed to St. Thomas. On Tuesday, July 5, his father decided to join Cole in a nearby neighborhood in hopes of adding another NCAA title to his career achievements.

After a two-month search, the Minnesota Gophers named long-time college hockey coach Steve Miller as their new associate head coach. Miller, 57, comes to the U of M after spending the past five seasons with Big Ten rival Ohio State.

“Steve is one of the most decorated coaches in our sport,” said Gophers coach Bob Motzko, in a statement released by the school. “From the national championships to the gold medals; he's been a part of everything. He’s just a fantastic person and family man and a very highly respected coach in the business. We're so fortunate that Gopher hockey is going to have a guy with his background on the coaching staff.”

Miller and Motzko were assistant coaches under George Gwozdecky at Miami (Ohio) from 1991-93.

If Miller can help the Gophers to a national championship, it will be the fourth on his resume. He was an assistant coach on Gwozdecky’s Denver staff that won NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005, and worked for Nate Leaman with the 2015 national championship team at Providence. With the Buckeyes under head coach Steve Rohlik, Miller helped Ohio State reach the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four and win the 2019 Big Ten regular season title.

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“I want to thank Bob Motzko for this incredible opportunity,” Miller said, in a statement. “The University of Minnesota is the gold standard in college hockey because of its tremendous history, tradition and success, and I am humbled to join and serve this storied program. I am excited and can’t wait to move to the State of Hockey and get started.”

The Motzko-Miller coaching combination has had notable success at the international level as well. They were the head and assistant coaches, respectively, for Team USA on the 2017 World Juniors team that claimed a gold medal, and again the next season, winning bronze.

In between his time at Providence and his time at Ohio State, Miller was the director of hockey operations at Air Force for two seasons.

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“He’s a terrific hockey man,” said Air Force head coach Frank Serratore, whose son Tom played for the Gophers a decade ago. “I brought him in because I wanted all the secrets from Denver and Providence. There was no question that wherever he was, success seemed to follow…The University of Minnesota hockey program is in great hands with Bob Motzko, and they just got better with Steve Miller, let me tell you.”

Originally, from Sun Prairie, Wis., Miller played college hockey at St. Mary’s University in Winona and got his first assistant coaching position there, helping the Cardinals to the 1989 MIAC playoff title. He is replacing Garrett Raboin, who left the Gophers staff in April when he was named the first head hockey coach at Augustana University .

Cole Miller is expected to join the St. Thomas roster for the 2023-24 season.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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