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Oklahoma State Basketball

Steve Lutz "Is Truly a Program Builder"

April 2, 2024
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STILLWATER – The announcement of Steve Lutz being named the head coach of Oklahoma State basketball was made official on Monday afternoon. Just a little over 24 hours later, Lutz is officially in Stillwater and Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Lutz is the 21st head coach in program history and will be introduced on Thursday afternoon, April 4, at 3:30 CT. 

Without having heard from Lutz yet on the job and his chance to bring Oklahoma State back to national prominence, it’s tough to generate any fresh content on Lutz as we’ve written several articles over the past week on his background, journey to being a head coach and his coaching style, all of which can be read in this article.

USATODAY Sports

One of the things we’ve written about the past week is his time as an assistant coach at both Creighton and Purdue, two very successful and talented programs. Both of which made the NCAA tournament this season, with Purdue being a No. 1 seed and making it to the Final 4 against Cinderella NC State. Sure, Lutz was last on Matt Painter’s staff at Purdue in 202, but he was instrumental in recruiting National Player of the Year Zach Edey to the Boilermakers in his final season in West Lafayette, IN. 

He also helped develop another National Player of the Year in Doug McDermott in 2014.

In fact, Creighton head coach Greg McDermott had some strong words for Lutz in a quote to OSU basketball. “I’m thrilled for coach Lutz and his family. He was instrumental in developing our program at Creighton during our first seven years in Omaha. The job he has done in both of his head coaching stops has been nothing short of incredible. He is truly a program builder. Cowboy Basketball is in great heads!” 

Oklahoma State Athletics

Like I said, strong words.

There’s an interview with Lutz on YouTube by Purdue Sports about his journey to becoming a coach and how he ended up at Purdue. I’m not going to list too many quotes about the Boilermakers, as it was not only going into the 2017 season, but we don’t cover Purdue. However, how he got to West Lafayette on Painter’s staff is promising.

“On one of the Nike trips, [Matt Painter] was with my head coach, and a bunch of other head coaches and they’re sitting around just kind of talking and somebody asked about me. [McDermott] was like ‘Steve Lutz does a really good job for me, and I love him’ and all that kind of stuff. Then [Painter] was at USA Basketball with another person, and he was asked if you had a job opening, who would you hire, and my name came up again.”

Having multiple people at multiple events talk about how good of a job you’re doing as an assistant coach? That’s impressive. The fact he’s been to seven-straight NCAA tournaments is impressive, but it’s more impressive he’s taken three-straight teams to the NCAA tournament in his first three years as a head coach. 

Lutz took over a Texas A&M Corpus Christi program that went 5-19 in 2020-21 and turned them into a 23-12 team and took them to the NCAA tournament in his first season. It marked the team’s first tournament appearance since 2007, while also winning the team’s first conference title since 2007. 

He then went to Western Kentucky after two seasons and went 22-12 in his first season and took the Hilltoppers to the NCAA tournament and won a conference championship for the first time since 2013.

It’s impossible to predict success, especially in this day and age of transfer portal and NIL. However, based on what Lutz has done the past three seasons, in player development and offensive and defensive sets, you have to be optimistic about what he can do with a bigger recruiting and NIL budget than he’s had since becoming a head coach.

Pokes Report will be on hand for the introductory press conference for Lutz and will have multiple articles from the event.

 
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