By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Bobby Lutz is a marquee name in college basketball. Lutz, Fred Hoiberg’s ace assistant and former Charlotte head coach has 399 career victories. He averaged over 18 wins per season, won three Atlantic 10 titles and led his team to five NCAA Tournaments during his 12-year tenure with the 49ers. Lutz is now in Ames and is excited about being in the Big 12. Here’s a one-on-one conversation that CycloneFanatic.com had with Lutz during media day.
If you can, think back to your first year as a head basketball coach. What were some of the toughest things to adjust to?
BL: There were some similarities when I was at Pfeiffer, a smaller level. We were picked to finish last and we didn’t disappoint anybody. We finished dead last. The biggest thing was that it was a transition year and that is kind of what this is. We think that we can be better than last. I hopefully can help Fred because he is used to winning. Once we get into league play, it isn’t going to be very easy. We have got to come in here, just as I did at Pfeiffer in 1986-87, and continue to demand of our players but as we experience some tough times which we are probably going to do, we need to be able to stay positive. As a first year coach, I don’t know if I did that. I was used to winning also. It is a hard thing to do. As long as our guys are giving effort and getting better, we have got to be able to push forward and do our best for this year but also build a foundation for the future.
You guys have what could be the best scout team in America. How are you going to utilize that this year and going forward?
BL: I think that it is good on a couple of levels. First of all, it is good for this year’s team. The young guys are going to experience playing against Big 12 caliber players all of the time. That doesn’t always happen in terms of front-line and first team type of players. Normally, you are playing against the bottom of your bench and it isn’t quite that good, otherwise they wouldn’t be at the bottom of your bench. Now, we have guys who are high-caliber players. On a daily basis, it is going to teach them what it takes. Now it is also going to help the guys who are sitting out. They will bond. They’ll learn the system together and know how Coach Hoiberg wants them to play. By the spring, we will be better for it. I don’t know what our record will be, but our program will be in much better shape because of this particular situation.
Coach Hoiberg has mentioned numerous times how you’re currently mentoring him as a head coach. What does this experience mean to you?
BL: He is a natural. He is intelligent. He is driven. He has passion for the game in general and this place in particular. He probably gives me more credit than I deserve. It is fun for me. I was an assistant after being a head coach. I was an assistant for three years at Charlotte before I became the head coach there and I really enjoyed that. You are never too old to learn. As an assistant, I learned a lot of things. You are in a different position. It is a helpful situation for me and hopefully when I am learning from it, I can help him kind of balance out all of the things that you have to do as a head coach. I will give him my opinion but ultimately, he is going to have to make the final decision. I am fine with that.
If somebody were to tell you that he has never coached before, would you believe that?
BL: He certainly isn’t a novice. I noticed that since he has become head coach, nobody could have worked any harder at preparing and watching tape and studying, while talking to other coaches and our staff, just trying to figure out what he wants to do. His experience on so many levels for so many different coaches, he has kind of brought a little bit of all of those guys. Some players don’t play that close of attention. Fred is a guy who paid close attention to every coach that he had. He is brining more than the average first year coach.