Bobby Lutz, associate head basketball coach at N.C. State and a former coach of the Charlotte 49ers, has emerged as the leading candidate to become Appalachian State’s next coach, the Observer has learned.
Lutz has been in discussions with Appalachian State about its vacancy the past several days, sources said. The school fired Jason Capel after four seasons and a 53-70 record.
Lutz, 55, just completed his third season on coach Mark Gottfried’s staff at N.C. State and his second year as associate head coach. The Wolfpack advanced to its third straight NCAA tournament and ended the season with a 22-14 record.
“We’re in the process of evaluating and having discussions with several candidates, but it’s our policy to not comment about any specific candidates or confirm or deny the candidacy of any specific individuals while the search is still ongoing,” Appalachian State spokesman Mike Flynn said.
Sources said Appalachian State had been interested in Mike Rhoades, a former assistant at Virginia Commonwealth. He was named coach at Rice on Tuesday.
The Mountaineers are moving from the Southern Conference to the Sun Belt next season, and athletics director Charlie Cobb has said a coach with knowledge of that league would be an asset.
Lutz came to N.C. State after one season as an assistant at Iowa State. He was coach at Charlotte from 1999-2010, where he led his alma mater to eight postseason appearances (five NCAA, three NIT). A native of Catawba, N.C., he remains the winningest coach in 49ers history with a 218-158 record.
Charlotte, now in Conference USA, is a former member of the Sun Belt Conference.
At N.C. State, Lutz is in charge of the advanced scouting and defensive game-planning. Gottfried also has given Lutz a lot of responsibility with the team’s preparation.
N.C. State has run Gottfried’s version of the UCLA high-post offense but has relied on Lutz for breaking down defensive assignments and adjustments. Lutz often can be seen during games standing and shouting out what the other team is going to run on offense before it runs it.
Lutz was also one of the main reasons point guard Tyler Lewis remained committed to the Wolfpack after Gottfried was hired to replace Sidney Lowe in 2011. At Charlotte, Lutz was one of the first coaches to offer Lewis a scholarship. Lutz was also instrumental in signing class of 2014 recruits Caleb and Cody Martin, who are from Mocksville.
Staff writer Joe Giglio contributed to this report.
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