OFFICIAL: Lutz named Head Basketball Coach at Western Kentucky

Photo Courtesy WKU Athletics

Following up on today’s earlier report. WKU has now released the following statement on the hiring of Steve Lutz as their new head men’s basketball coach:

Steve Lutz has been named the 16th head men’s basketball coach at Western Kentucky University, Director of Athletics Todd Stewart announced on Saturday.

“We are excited to name Steve Lutz as our next head coach,” said Stewart.  “He is a proven winner and a respected coach with a track record of consistent success in recruiting, player development, academics, and community involvement.  It is nice to hire someone with head coaching experience, but it is even better if they have winning head coaching experience.  After having a major impact at Purdue as an assistant coach, Steve’s impact at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi over the last two seasons as a head coach is remarkable.  He inherited a program with four consecutive losing seasons and led an immediate turn around culminating in conference championships and an NCAA Tournament appearance each season.  And, over his last seven seasons, his teams have reached the NCAA Tournament each year.  He is the right person at the right time to lead our program.”

“At WKU we expect excellence in all we do, competing at the highest level in areas from instruction to research; student success to corporate partnerships; fundraising to economic development; and, of course, in our athletics program,” said Western Kentucky University President Dr. Timothy Caboni. “When men’s basketball thrives and wins, it enhances the university’s national profile and elevates our brand. These high expectations demand a seasoned, experienced winner with a comprehensive skill set.  I am confident Steve Lutz will be a terrific leader of our program who will add to our storied history, develop young men as players, and help instill in them the attributes necessary to succeed after leaving WKU.”

“I am very excited and appreciative of the opportunity to be the next head coach at Western Kentucky,” said Lutz. “This is a storied program with a rich history of success.  Our teams will wear the WKU uniform with pride and represent the Hilltopper Nation in everything we do.  I look forward to meeting our players, and our family is looking forward to joining the Bowling Green community.  Go Tops!”

A formal press conference to introduce Lutz and his family is set for 11 a.m. CT on Monday morning inside the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Club at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The event is open to the public, and free parking will be available in Parking Structure 2 (PS2) next to Smith Stadium.

Lutz, a native of San Antonio, Texas, has led Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the last two seasons to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament win in a First Four victory over SEMO on March 14.

With Lutz at the helm, the Islanders won three conference championships, two tournament and one regular-season, over the last two years. He holds a career head coaching record of 47-23 in two seasons and was named the 2023 Southland Conference and NABC District 22 Coach of the Year.

In early March, Lutz was also named a finalist for the 2023 Skip Prosser Man of the Year award, an honor given annually to the head men’s basketball coach in NCAA Division I who both achieves success on the basketball court and displays moral integrity off of it.

TAMUCC recently wrapped up a 24-11 season for 2022-23, with a 14-4 mark in league play. The Islanders final game was against overall No. 1 seed Alabama in an NCAA Tournament first-round match up. Lutz’s crew had the Southland Defensive Player of the Year in Terrion Murdix and a program-record three All-Conference honorees in Murdix, Isaac Mushila and Trey Tennyson.

In 2022-23, the Islanders led the league in scoring (80.4 ppg), free throw percentage (79%), 3-point field goal defense (33.1%), rebounding (36.9 rpg), rebounding margin (+3.6), assists (15.7 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.2). They were also second in scoring defense (72.5 ppg), field goal percentage defense (44.6%) and steals (8.8 spg).

A&M-Corpus Christi had four consecutive losing seasons before hiring Lutz and finished 5-19 in 2020-21, the year prior to his arrival.  He then made the largest turnaround in program history with a 23-12 record in 2021-22.  Lutz brought in the most transfers by any NCAA DI program at 10, with 12 total transfers on the roster.

Two of those transfers – Mushila and Tennyson – earned All-Conference honors while a third – Murdix – earned Southland Conference Tournament MVP and All-Defensive Team honors. Mushila was also named the league’s Newcomer of the Year. The Islanders won a school record 13 non-conference games that season.

Before earning his first head coaching position, Lutz was an assistant for four years at Purdue. During his time in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers compiled a 90-42 record, including a 53-24 mark in the Big Ten. Purdue made appearances in every NCAA Tournament during his stint with an Elite Eight run in 2019 and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2018.

Lutz was crucial in the recruitment of current National Player of the Year prospect, junior center Zach Edey, and in the development of Consensus All-American guard Carsen Edwards.

Before his time at Purdue, Lutz spent seven seasons at Creighton, assisting the Bluejays to a 166-82 record over that time. Creighton made four appearances in the NCAA Tournament and won two conference tournament championships plus a regular season title.

Other stops for Lutz include four seasons at SMU, six seasons at Stephen F. Austin, a season at Garden City and four at Incarnate Word.

Lutz played basketball at Texas Lutheran, serving as team captain in his senior season. He earned his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Secondary Education/Business Administration before earning his master’s in Physical Education at Incarnate Word.

Lutz and his wife, Shannon, have three children: Caroline, McKenna and Jackson. 

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