The Western Kentucky Hilltopper athletic department introduced new head men’s basketball coach, Steve Lutz, to the public Monday morning.
Lutz most recently was the head coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christie, where he led the Islanders to the conference title in his both seasons with the program. He finished his stint there with a 47-23 record at the helm.
Lutz made his intentions with the program clear from the outset, marking recruitment of players as one of the most important aspects of his team’s future success.
“I can promise you that myself and my staff will work extremely hard to fulfill those goals and to recruit the right people that everyone will be proud of,” Lutz said. “Not only on the floor, but when they are out in the community, when they’re out on national TV, wherever they are that they will be representing us in the right way.”
He also praised the recruiting scene within the state of Kentucky, highlighting the Kentucky state basketball tournament and the Kentucky vs. Indiana all-star game that happens every summer. He placed an emphasis on the ability to recruit players that live close, rather than players who have to travel a long distance to attend the university.
“I’ve always believed that if you can draw a 200 to 300-mile radius around your university and you can recruit from there, why would you go any further,” he said.
At the moment, not a single member of the 2022-23 Hilltopper squad has entered the transfer portal despite the change in head coach, some even attending the presser to support Lutz as he spoke to the media.
“I can’t appreciate their support enough,” Lutz said. “And they don’t know me, but they’re here today, which shows to me that they’re committed to being great players and great people at Western Kentucky.”
Since entering Conference USA in 2014, the Hilltoppers have yet to win a conference tournament, with programs such as Middle Tennessee, UAB, Old Dominion and most recently Florida Atlantic, taking the automatic bid for themselves. Lutz, coming from the Southland Conference, spoke on the success of the other C-USA teams and was very blunt on how he plans to win out in the coming years.
“I plan to recruit really good players that will be successful in Conference USA,” he said. “My staff and I are going to coach them absolutely as hard as we can to get them where we want to go, but it all starts with people.”
It all starts now, as Lutz will meet with the team individually this week to discuss each player’s future plans as he starts to build his roster for the 2023-24 season.
Read more about Lutz’s journey to WKU.