Great moments are born from great opportunities.
Herb Brooks was born on 5th August, 1937 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His parents were Herbert Brooks, Sr. and Pauline Brooks, and he was the eldest of three children. While he was studying in Johnson High School, he played for the school hockey team, which won the 1955 state hockey championship. Besides hockey, he had a keen interest in playing basketball also.
Brooks played hockey at the University of Minnesota, and was made a member of the US National Team in 1960. However, he was not to have his moment of glory as a player in the history of US Olympic Hockey, as he was the last player removed from the Team. The same year, the team went on to win the gold medal in the Winter Olympics hosted in California. Later, from 1964 to 1968 he was part of the national team.
He coached the University of Minnesota (his alma mater) Golden Gophers hockey team between 1972-79, and led them to victory thrice. The team won three NCAA championships; 1974, 1976, and 1979. His wins won him the title of the best hockey coach of all time in Minnesota. He was later selected as a coach for the US hockey team. In the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, he was the first coach in 20 years to lead his team to victory against the USSR.
From then on, Brooks coached many teams, and created history with his style and technique. Between 1981 to 1985, he coached the New York Rangers, becoming the fastest coach of Rangers' team history to win 100 games. Later, he coached Minnesota North Stars (1987-88), New Jersey Devils (1992-93), and Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-00). During his last season as the director of player development for the Penguins, he rejected a multi-million dollar offer to coach the Rangers, as he wasn't too keen to stay away from his wife Patti, and two children, Danny and Kelly.
Brooks' 1980 Winter Olympic Games win was the subject of a Walt Disney Pictures feature film called Miracle, featuring Kurt Russell playing the part of Brooks. Brooks served as a consultant during the filming of the movie, but could not be part of its premier in 2004. He was tragically killed in an automobile accident on the afternoon of 11th August, 2003, near Forest Lake, Minnesota. Reports from the Minnesota State Patrol indicated that he fell asleep behind the wheel, probably because he was driving all night, and was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash.
His death left behind a void in the coaching field, and to honor his contributions, an award was created in his name. The Herb Brooks Award, is awarded at the culmination of the Minnesota State High School League's state hockey tournament to "the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks. In 1990, Brooks was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and on 13th November, 2006, was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.