Luther Athletics History

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, 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 232 IIAC titles. The men have won 162 team championships, while the women have won 70.

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 54-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 nine times and won the All-Sports Championship in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Twenty-six individual national championships and 321 All-American honors have been earned by Luther student-athletes. During the 2014-15 campaign, Clare Slagel '16, captured her second national title in swimming at the NCAA III National Swimming & Diving Championships (200 backstroke - 2014 - 100 backstroke - 2015), and Tricia Serres '16 captured her first national title in the 1500 at the Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Thirty-eight student-athletes have received the distinguished NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and 59 student-athletes have been awarded a CoSIDA Academic All-America honor.

Since 1993-94, the Iowa Conference sports information directors 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, 1,800 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.

Additional Information

Write or call the Admissions Office, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101-1042; toll-free number: 1-800-4LUTHER; email: