WKU hires Lutz as new hoops coach

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Mar. 19—Ten years since its most recent appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament, Western Kentucky believes it has found the man to return the Hilltoppers to the Big Dance.

A week after the resignation of embattled head coach Rick Stansbury, WKU hired Steve Lutz — who led Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons — as his successor.

"We are excited to name Steve Lutz as our next head coach," WKU athletic director Todd Stewart said. "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 turnaround."

Lutz, 50, is thrilled to be headed to the Hill.

"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 native of San Antonio, Lutz led Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to the program's first NCAA Tournament win in a First Four victory over Ohio Valley Conference tournament champion Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio.

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

TAMUCC was 24-11 in 2022-23, with a 14-4 mark in league play.

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. Lutz spent seven seasons at Creighton, assisting the Bluejays to a 166-82 record over that time. Other stops include four seasons at SMU, six at Stephen F. Austin, a season at Garden City and four at Incarnate Word.

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