Intercollegiate athletics began at Luther College in 1891 with a baseball game in Decorah between Luther and St. Olaf College.
Luther competes in ten men's and nine women's intercollegiate athletic programs. The college is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III (NCAA III) and the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC or Iowa Conference). Members of the Iowa Conference include Buena Vista University, Central College, Coe College, University of Dubuque, Loras College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Simpson College and Wartburg College.
Since joining the Iowa Conference as a charter member in 1922, Luther has dominated the championship scene, winning an unmatched 239 IIAC titles. The men have won 164 team championships, while the women have won 75.
The 2014-15 academic year marked 50 years of women's athletics at Luther College. Even though Luther became coeducational in 1936, intercollegiate athletics for women did not begin until 1964-65. The women's athletic program was a charter member of the Iowa Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (IAIAW) and remained a member until joining the newly formed women's league of the Iowa Conference and the NCAA III in 1982.
During the 55-year history of the Men's All Sports Championship (currently called the Elmer Hertel Men's Sports Championship), the Norse have won the award 30 times.
The Luther women have won the All Sports Championship (currently called the Majorie Giles Women's Sports Championship), nine times since the inception of this award in 1982-83.
At the conclusion of the 2002-03 academic year, the Iowa Conference All-Sports Championship was established. It is awarded to the school that demonstrates overall excellence in men's and women's sports for a given year. Since that first year, the Norse have finished third twice, second 10 times and won the All-Sports Championship in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Twenty-nine individual national championships and 331 All-American honors have been earned by Luther student-athletes. During the 2015-16 campaign, Drew Van Anrooy '16 claimed the national title at 141 at the NCAA III National Wrestling Championships earning All-America honors for the second time and finishing his two-year career with a record of 50-3. Tricia Serres '16 and Clare Slagel '16 wrapped up their incredible careers in cross country and track and swimming respectively. Serres earned All-America honors at both the indoor and outdoor National Track Champions and finished as an 11-time All-American, that included a national title outdoors in the 1500 in 2015. Slagel earned All-America honors for a fourth time in the 100 backstroke completing her career as an eight-time All-American, that included a national title in the 100 backstroke in 2015 and a national title in the 200 backstroke in 2014.
All-America honors were also earned by wrestlers Dakota Gray '16 (149), Tristan Zurfluh '17 (157) and Justin Kreiter '17 (184); Mitch Knippenberg '16 in baseball (catcher); Miranda McCay '16 in softball (2B); and Moran Lonning '16 was named an honorable mention All-American in basketball.
Thirty-nine student-athletes have received the distinguished NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and 63 student-athletes have been awarded a CoSIDA Academic All-America honor.
Since 1993-94, the Iowa Conference sports information directors have sponsored all-academic teams for the fall, winter and spring sports. To be a member of the all-academic team, a student-athlete must have a grade point average of 3.50 or greater on a 4.0 scale; have attended the school for a full year; and competed on a varsity sport. Since the first year of this award, 1,929 academic all-academic team honors have been earned by Luther student-athletes.
If you are looking for a school that will provide a great education while participating for one of the finest athletic programs in the Iowa Conference, be sure to contact one of our coaches.