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A Year-by-Year Recap of Steve Lutz’s Three Seasons as a Head Coach

Lutz is 8-0 in conference tournaments as a head coach.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

After 18 days, the Cowboys finally have their next basketball coach.

News broke Monday that Steve Lutz would captain the Cowboys after spending last season at Western Kentucky. This upcoming season will just be Lutz’s fourth as a head coach after this past season with the Hilltoppers and two at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Each team is different, especially in the transfer portal era, but here is a look at how each of Lutz’s seasons as a head coach have gone to this point.

2021-22, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Record: 23-12
Previous Season Record:
NCAA Tournament bid, Southland tournament champions

Taking over a program, Lutz retained only three players who were on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s previous team, bringing in 11 newcomers to the roster.

Lutz started his head coaching career with a 102-64 win against Texas Lutheran — a school Lutz graduated from in 1995.

From there, his Islanders had their first big test with a trip to College Station against Texas A&M. A&M-CC led by as many as nine in the first half and the game was tied at 30 with fewer than two minutes to play in the first half before the Aggies pulled away and won 86-65.

From there, the Islanders won eight straight before a trip to Minneapolis, where they fell to Minnesota 79-71.

The Islanders went into Southland play at 13-4 with losses to Texas A&M, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Nicholls State. That Nicholls State loss came in the Southland’s Preseason Tournament before conference play officially got going.

After a 3-1 start in conference, the Islanders hit some struggles and went on a five-game losing streak. That ended up being the last losing streak of their season. Lutz’s team finished the regular season winning four of five with its only loss in that stretch coming to Nicholls State. Finishing 7-7 in Southland play earned the Islanders the 4 seed in the Southland Tournament.

The Islanders handled Houston Baptist 75-60 in their first game in the tournament before a date with 1 seed Nicholls State. To this point, the Islanders had fallen to Nicholls State three times in the regular season, but A&M-CC pulled it off when it mattered most, besting Nicholls State 71-64 to advance to the Southland title game. There, the Islanders beat 2 seed Southeastern Louisiana 73-65 to make their second NCAA Tournament in program history.

A&M-CC drew a 16 seed in the Tournament, where it matched up with Texas Southern in a First Four game in Dayton. The Islanders lost that game 76-67.

76.6 38.3 15.1 14.1 44% 34% 74%

2022-23, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Record: 24-11
Previous Season Record:
NCAA Tournament bid, Southland tournament champions, Southland regular-season champions

Despite making the NCAA Tournament the year prior, Lutz and Co. were able to retain their top-three scorers: Isaac Mushila, Trevian Tennyson and Terrion Murdix. That’s an impressive feat given the transfer portal exists.

Now with a target on their backs, the Islanders didn’t necessarily get off to the best of starts in Lutz’s second year.

The Islanders started the year with a 63-44 loss to Mississippi State. They won their next three but wouldn’t win two in a row for the remainder of the non-con — that stretch included an 81-58 loss to to Oklahoma State in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

But then the Islanders started Southland by winning four of five with the only loss coming in overtime. They suffered back-to-back losses in mid-January just to hardly lose again.

A&M-CC rattled off an eight-game win streak and won 10 of 11 to close the regular season. That stretch earned the Islanders the 1 seed in the Southland tournament.

The Southland tourney is set up a bit funky. With the 1 seed, the Islanders went straight into the semifinal, where they beat McNeese 80-63. They then beat Northwestern State 75-71 to earn a second-straight NCAA Tournament berth.

A&M-CC was again given a 16 seed and again had to go to Dayton, but this time the Islanders bested Southeast Missouri State 75-71 to get to the first round. There, they fell to 1 seed Alabama 96-75.

80.1 37.3 15.3 12.8 45% 36% 79%

2022-23, Western Kentucky

Record: 22-12
Previous Season Record:
NCAA Tournament bid, Conference USA tournament champions

Making his first move as a head coach, Lutz retained six players who were on Western Kentucky’s roster the year before, bringing 10 new players into the fold.

Lutz started his tenure with the Hilltoppers at 4-1 with the only loss in that stretch coming on the road at Wichita State.

After back-t0-back losses to finish out the Northern Classic, WKU won eight games in a row.

It was a see-saw of a year for WKU. After that eight-game win streak, the Hilltoppers went on a 2-4 stretch before winning five in a row only to lose their final four games of the regular season.

That rollercoaster saw WKU end Conference USA play at 8-8 — good for the 3 seed in the conference tournament. The Hilltoppers powered past 6 seed New Mexico State 89-69 in the quarterfinals, 7 seed Middle Tennessee State 85-54 in the semifinals and 5 seed UTEP 78-71 in the final to earn their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2013. For those keeping score, Lutz is 8-0 in conference tournaments as a head coach.

In the tourney, Western Kentucky earned a 15 seed, falling to 2 seed Marquette 87-69 in the first round.

80.2 39.9 13.4 13.8 47% 34% 72%

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