Western Kentucky announced on Saturday the hiring of Steve Lutz as the Hilltoppers’ next head basketball coach. Lutz spent the last two seasons as the head coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, leading the Islanders to the NCAA Tournament both year.
“We are excited to name Steve Lutz as our next head coach,” AD Todd Stewart said in a statement. “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.”
Lutz and the Islanders won both the Southland regular season and Tournament titles this year and won the 16v16 play-in game earlier this week before falling to 1-seed Alabama on Thursday. The squad won 23 and 24 games in Lutz’ two seasons, respectively, giving him an overall record of 47-23. The year before Lutz was hired, TAMU-CC went just 5-19.
“I am very excited and appreciative of the opportunity to be the next head coach at Western Kentucky,” Lutz said. “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, Texas, Lutz had stints on staff at Purdue (2017-21), Creighton (2010-17), SMU (2006-10), Stephen F. Austin (2000-06) and Incarnate Word (1995-99) before getting the Corpus Christi job two years ago.
WKU has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2013. Earlier this month, the school moved on from Rick Stansbury after seven seasons – he became the first non-interim head coach in program history to not reach the Big Dance.