CASPER, Wyo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo coach John Luthi was named National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year this week at the 65th annual College National Finals Rodeo.
The award, which was officially presented on Wednesday, June 12, was voted upon by the NIRA Board of Directors, made up of the regional and student directors.
“I am very honored to get this award,” Luthi said. “It’s a huge honor and I praise God for the opportunity. There are a lot of great coaches in the NIRA and I feel very blessed to be considered one of them.”
It was certainly a banner year for Luthi in 2013. The UT Martin men’s team accumulated 7,465 points in a span of 10 rodeos entering the postseason. The men’s squad won the Ozark Region by a commanding 3,185 points and qualified for its 40th straight CNFR appearance in 2013. It was the program’s 12th Ozark Region championship under the guidance of Luthi and 28th Ozark title since 1976.
Luthi brought home regional Coach of the Year honors, one of seven championship awards that UT Martin received from the Ozark Region. He also presided over the 45th annual Spring College Rodeo at UT Martin, which was named the Ozark’s “Rodeo of the Year” for the eighth straight season. Several UT Martin cowboys earned top-10 national rankings throughout the season thanks to the tutelage of Luthi, who took over as head coach of UT Martin in 1997.
The UT Martin men’s team finished 10th in the nation at the CNFR, the fifth time since 2005 that the team has closed out the year in the top-10. Tyler Waltz (bareback riding, sixth), John Alley/Clark Adcock (team roping, seventh) and Clay Mitchell/Lane Mitchell (team roping, 10th) also all rounded out the 2013 season ranked in the top-10 in their respective events.
Photo courtesy of Hubbell Photos