Yes, that familiar face belongs to Bobby Lutz. No, he’s not flashing the “L” sign to University of Louisville basketball partisans. Maybe it’s the Lutz family hi sign, how else to explain it.
The pint-sized coach brings his Charlotte basketball team to Freedom Hall, scene of many nail-biting finishes when the teams were in Conference USA. His teams always seemed to fare better in Louisville than they did on their home court.
Despite the team’s 6-1 record, Lutz has plenty of motivation — hanging on to his job. Disappointed Charlotte fans were angry following an 11-20 record last year and they have begun voting with empty seats at the Charlotte Arena.
His boss, female athletic director Judy Rose, is disenchanted with how Charlotte has fared in the Atlantic 10 conference thus far:
“We’ve had time to adjust to this league,” Rose said. “It’s time for us to step up and be one of the better teams.” While Rose said she hasn’t demanded Lutz reach a certain number of wins or other benchmarks, the coach is feeling pressure again as he prepares for his 12th season at his alma mater.
Loyalty doesn’t count much when losing. Lutz turnedÂ down an offer to be head coach at South Alabama in 2007 when John Pelphrey took the Arkansas job. He opted to stay at Charlotte, stating in an open letter to the team’s fan base that he is dedicated to the city and program.