BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP)Western Kentucky hired Steve Lutz as the Hilltoppers’ coach on Saturday, quickly completing a national search a week after Rick Stansbury stepped down.
Lutz guided Texas A&M-Corpus Christi past Southeast Missouri State 75-71 on Tuesday for its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory – a First Four matchup of No. 16 seeds. The Islanders then fell 96-75 to overall No. 1 seed Alabama on Thursday.
Lutz is 47-23 lifetime after two seasons at TAMUCC, including going 24-11 this year. His teams saw automatic NCAA Tournament berths after twice winning the Southland Conference Tournament championship.
Lutz, who is from San Antonio, said in a statement that he was excited for the opportunity, adding: “This is a storied program with a rich history of success.”
Lutz will be introduced as WKU’s 16th head coach on Monday.
The 50-year-old also is a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award, which given a Division I coach for on-court success and off-court moral integrity.
Lutz spent four years as a Purdue assistant coach and helped recruit Boilermakers junior center Zach Edey, a national player of the year prospect. He also assisted at Creighton, which reached the NCAA Tournament four times, SMU and Stephen F. Austin.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart noted Lutz’s success as an assistant and head coach and praised his recruiting, player development and community involvement. He called Lutz a proven winner.
“He is the right person at the right time to lead our program,” Stewart said.
Lutz succeeds Stansbury, who cited a need to focus on his health and family in resigning. Stansbury was 139-89 in seven seasons at WKU but failed to reach to reach the NCAA Tournament. — AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25