Shawn Lutz was named the 16th head coach in Slippery Rock football history on Dec. 18, 2015.
No stranger to The Rock, Lutz spent the previous 20 seasons prior to being tabbed to lead the program as a trusted assistant coach for former SRU head coach George Mihalik.
In two seasons in charge of The Rock football program, Lutz has compiled a record of 15-7. His 15 wins are the most by any coach in Slippery Rock history through their first two seasons. Since becoming head coach, Lutz has mentored 18 All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honorees, nine all-region selections and four All-Americans.
Lutz followed a solid first season as head coach in 2016 with another strong campaign in 2017 as The Rock went 8-3 overall to extend the program’s streak of consecutive winning seasons to nine; the third longest in the PSAC and the 13th longest in all of Division II (170 teams).
A season ago, Lutz guided a Slippery Rock team that ranked fifth in the nation in passing offense (335.4), 10th in punt return average (17.45), 11th in scoring (40.2), 11th in third down conversion percentage (.487), 21st in tackles for loss per game (8.0), 22nd in first downs (270) and 23rd in total offense (456.5).
Slippery Rock possessed arguably the most potent offense in the PSAC a year ago as it ranked first in the 16-team conference in scoring, passing offense, first downs and third down conversion percentage while coming in second in total offense. Defensively, The Rock ranked fifth in the conference in sacks. SRU’s special teams units led the league in punt return average and ranked fifth in net punting average.
10 Rock players garnered All-PSAC West honors thanks in no small part to Lutz’s tutelage, including eventual All-Americans Marcus Johnson, Marcus Martin and Ian Park. Martin was named the PSAC West Defensive Player of the Year for a third consecutive year and all three of The Rock’s All-Americans went on to sign NFL contracts.
In his first season as head coach, Lutz led a Slippery Rock team that was plagued by injuries at key positions to a 7-4 record, the program’s eighth consecutive winning season and its 11th winning campaign in the last 12 years overall.
Under Lutz’s direction, Slippery Rock ranked sixth in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game (82.5), ninth in interceptions (21), 23rd in passing yards per game (294.0), 27th in sacks (32), 33rd in total first downs (265), 36th in completion percentage (.612) and 37th in points per game (35.5).
Across the PSAC, Slippery Rock led the league in rush yards allowed per game while also ranking second in first downs per game (24.1), third in interceptions, fourth in total yards allowed per game (360.3), fourth in passing yards per game (294.0), fifth in points per game, fifth in total offense per game (436.0), fifth in sacks, fifth in first downs allowed per game (19.2) and seventh in points allowed per game.
Eight Rock players garnered All-PSAC West honors in Lutz’s first year as a head coach, including Martin, and eventual All-American who was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.
Prior to taking over as head coach, Lutz finished his fourth season as The Rock's associate head coach, eighth season as defensive coordinator and his 20th overall season as a member of the staff in 2015.
Lutz has been an integral part of Slippery Rock climbing to the top of the PSAC in recent years, as he guided the defense of the three-time PSAC Western Division champions from 2013-15. The Rock won four of five PSAC West titles, claimed back-to-back overall PSAC titles and made three straight trips to the NCAA Division II playoffs during that stretch, including a trip to the quarterfinals in 2015.
Slippery Rock’s defense has annually ranked among the best in the PSAC under Lutz, and that was true again in 2015. The Rock defense shattered multiple school records on the way to the NCAA quarterfinals, including putting up the best rushing numbers in program history. The Rock defense, led by the defensive line (also coached by Lutz), allowed just 2.2 rushing yards per carry and 71.7 rushing yards per game on the season. Those numbers gave Slippery Rock the second best rushing defense in the country. The Rock also led the nation in takeaways with 47, finished first in the nation in fumble recoveries with 23 and finished third in the country in interceptions with 24.
In addition to those numbers, The Rock defense led the country in scoring with eight touchdowns of their own, ranked sixth in tackles for loss with an average of 9.4 per game and ranked seventh in sacks with an average of 3.43 sacks per game. Slippery Rock also shattered program records for most passes defended (112), fumbles recovered (23), fumbles forced (19), tackles for loss (132.0) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (4).
Lutz has played a huge role in the development of Martin, who has had one of the top careers of any defensive lineman in NCAA history. Martin had recorded 40.5 sacks in just three years and is the only active player at any level of NCAA football to average more than 1.00 sack per game. Martin, who averages an incredible 1.09 sacks per game, was named the PSAC West and Super Region One Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016. He is on a pace that could see him shatter the all-time NCAA sack record.
The success of the defense in 2015 was no surprise after what the 2014 unit was able to accomplish. Despite losing eight starters after the 2013 season, including all the linemen and linebackers, The Rock’s defense helped lead the way to a PSAC Championship and a NCAA Tournament berth in 2014. SRU’s defense ranked eighth in the nation in rushing yards per game allowed (92.3), 20th in passes intercepted (16) and 22nd in third down conversion defense (31.8 percent).
The 2013 Rock defense ranked fourth nationally among NCAA Division II teams in pass defense efficiency (97.46), fifth in third-down conversion (.265) and 25th in rushing defense (121.8 yards per game). SRU ranked second among the PSAC teams in rushing defense. Those efforts resulted in seven Rock defenders earning All-PSAC Western Division honors, five garnering All-Region honors and senior linebacker Quindell Dean, now an assistant coach on Lutz’ staff, being named to All-America honors.
In 2012, The Rock ranked 10th nationally in third-down conversion and 25th in pass defense efficiency. SRU was third in the PSAC in interceptions (16) and fifth in rushing defense (138.7 yards per game).
The 2011 Rock defense led the PSAC in both total defense (261.2 yards per game) and rush defense (80.0 yards per game), tied for second in interceptions with 20 and ranked third in scoring defense (16.5 points per game). Behind the efforts of all-star performers Brandon Watters, Jake Wickline and Zach Sheridan, The Rock defense ranked third nationally in rushing defense, fourth in total defense, sixth in scoring defense and ninth in pass efficiency defense (98.23.
In 2010, The Rock’s defense ranked second in the PSAC and 17th nationally in pass defense. Lutz’s defense also produced two All-Region selections, (Sheridan and Robert Doiley) and two All-PSAC choices (Doiley and Andre Freeman).
Lutz served 10 seasons as defensive line coach and seven seasons as recruiting coordinator before assuming the reigns of the defense in 2006. He added the title of associate head coach in 2012 as Slippery Rock began a long-term plan to transition him into the head coaching role.
Under Lutz’s leadership, The Rock defensive line has carved out an impressive niche. He has coached nine linemen that earned All-America citations and 24 All-PSAC honorees. Lutz-coached defensive linemen have led the PSAC in quarterback sacks five of the last eight seasons and currently hold or share eight school records.
Lutz tutored the tight ends and tackles in 1998 and served as graduate assistant in 1996 and 1997, working with the offensive linemen.
As a player, Lutz was a three-year letterman as a tight end at West Virginia University. He was a member of two bowl teams. One of those teams finished the regular season unbeaten, won the Big East Conference championship, played in the Sugar Bowl and had a No. 6 final national ranking.
Lutz received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education/social studies from WVU in 1996 and received his master’s degree in sport management from SRU in 2003.
A native of Massillon, Ohio, Lutz is the proud father of three sons, Logan, Gavin and Easton. He resides in Grove City.