HUDSON -- Brooks Lockwood has been part of three of the four state championships in Hudson boys’ hockey history -- as a player on the Raider’s first state title team in 2001 and as head coach of Hudson’s back-to-back state titles in 2017 and 2018. But the 36 year-old Lockwood said last week that he was stepping down after seven years behind the bench to devote more time to his growing business and family.
“It was getting tough to manage with my work schedule and I was missing too much time on the home front,” he said. "My two little girls are growing up fast.”
Lockwood and his wife Markell have two young daughters, ages two and four. He also owns and operates Stone and Leaf Landscaping in Somerset, formerly Greenleaf Landscaping, with his former Raider teammate and assistant coach Ben Bowsorth. As both his family and business have grown, he said he found it difficult to devote the time needed to coaching.
“I was finding it harder and harder to do for the hockey program the things I had done in the past,” he said. “It took time away from my family.”
Lockwood played his high school hockey in Hudson for his predecessor, WHCA Hall of Fame coach Mike Stoskopf, and was a junior on the Raiders' first state championship team in 2001. After graduating from Hudson he spent a brief time playing junior hockey in Central Texas before playing at UW-Eau Claire from 2003-07. He got his first head coaching job at River Falls High School in 2010 and coached the Wildcats for two seasons before succeeding Stoskopf at Hudson in 2012. He said he learned a lot from his former coach.
“When I played at Hudson, Mike really got me going in the right direction,” he said. “He gave me a lot of advice and showed me what was important and I just tried to lead by example.”
Lockwood was obviously a good student. In seven seasons as Raider head coach he compiled a record of 154-31-5, guiding the team to four Big Rivers Conference titles, six straight sectional finals, four WIAA State Tournament appearances and back-to-back state titles in 2017 and 2018. He was named the Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2017, but he said he can’t take all the credit for the team’s success.
“I just wanted to give back to the program what it had given me,” he said. “I just wanted to give the kids in Hudson all I had. And I had a lot of really good help and support. I certainly didn’t do it myself. A lot of credit goes to the group that we had and the association.”
Lockwood said he owes a lot to the rest of the Raider coaching staff, including JV coach Aaron Richert and varsity assistants Bosworth, Brian Burbach, Davis and Jake Drewiske and Dean Talafous.
“I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “My assistant coaches like Burbach and Richert and Bos and Dean Talafous and the Drewiskes; we had a really great staff and I learned a lot from them.”
Lockwood said his approach to coaching was a simple one -- go out and do the best you can and try to improve every day.
“Like Dean Talafous says, the game has changed a lot since he played but the way you win hasn’t changed,” Lockwood said. “If you do the little things right, good things will happen.”
Lockwood said his favorite memories from coaching at Hudson have nothing to do with conference, sectional or state titles.
“Every group is different and every year makes different memories,” he said. “The camaraderie within each group is what I’ll remember. I think the thing I’ll miss is that bonding and watching the kids develop; like watching a fourth line kid become a first liner. Those are the kinds of things that are really rewarding.”
He said it was a difficult decision to step down, but the right one.
“It was a tough decision,” he said. “I think the easier decision would have been to stay and try and do it all. But now I get to spend a little more time, which isn’t much anymore, with my family. And that’s important.”