Sunday April 21st, 2024 9:36AM

Steve Lutz hired as basketball coach at Oklahoma State after one season at Western Kentucky

By The Associated Press

Steve Lutz was hired Monday as the basketball coach at Oklahoma State after one season at Western Kentucky.

The 51-year-old Lutz has a 69-35 career record and has led his teams to the NCAA Tournament in each of his three seasons as a head coach — this year at Western Kentucky and the previous two at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Before that, he was an assistant at Purdue and Creighton.

“Coach Lutz is known as one of the hardest-working coaches in the business,” Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg said in a statement. “He has worked at all levels of college basketball and has deep ties to this part of the country, especially Texas. The work he has put into his career has resulted in success as a head coach and (is) why I believe he is the right person to be the leader of Cowboy basketball.”

Oklahoma State has history as an elite program, with Henry Iba and Eddie Sutton — both members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — having walked the sideline. The Cowboys have won two national titles and reached six Final Fours, most recently in 2004.

Fans have become restless with the Cowboys' performance over the past two decades. Lutz is aware of the expectations associated with leading the program.

“It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. ... Know that my staff and I will work diligently to recruit and retain hard-working kids who will represent you well, on and off the court, and consistently compete for Big 12 championships,” he said in a statement.

Lutz takes over for Mike Boynton, who was fired after going 119-109 in seven seasons. The Cowboys reached only one NCAA Tournament under Boynton as he dealt with the fallout from an NCAA investigation.

A strong recruiting class gave the Cowboys hope they could be competitive this season. But they finished 12-20, closing with six straight losses.

Lutz has turned around programs quickly. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was among the nation’s most-improved teams in 2021-22, going from 5-19 to 23-12 and ending a run of four straight losing seasons. Its March Madness bid ended a 15-year drought.

Western Kentucky went 17-16 in 2022-23 and 22-13 this season. The Hilltoppers won their first Conference USA title and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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