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 American Rivers Conference. On August 9, 2018 the Iowa Conference was renamed the American Rivers Conference. Members of the American Rivers Conference include Buena Vista University, Central College, Coe College, University of Dubuque, Loras College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Simpson College and Wartburg College.

As a charter member of Iowa Conference in 1922, Luther has won 246 conference titles. The men have won 166 team championships, while the women have won 80.

Note: The American Rivers Conference does recognize conference championships and all-conference performers for both men's and women's swimming and these championships are included in a schools overall conference championships historical total. Because these sports do not compete for an official league title, they are not included in the overall point total towards the all-sports trophies.

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 58-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.

During the 37-year history of the Women's All Sports Championship (currently called the Majorie Giles Women's Sports Championship) Luther has claimed the championship 10 times.

At the conclusion of the 2002-03 academic year, the 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 second 11 times, third three times, and won the All-Sports Championship in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Twenty-nine individual national championships and 342 All-American honors have been earned by Luther student-athletes.

During the 2018-19 campaign, the men's soccer team and both the men's and women's tennis teams earned trips to an NCAA III National Tournament. Men's soccer made its ninth national tournament appearance and advanced to the Round of 8 and finished the year with an overall record of 19-4-1 and a final NCAA Division III National ranking of No. 8. The Norse were ranked in the top-25 nine of 10 weeks this year. Senior midfielder Aidan O’Driscoll, a 2015 graduate of Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School, St. Louis Park, Minn., was named a Division III Soccer All-American. With this honor, he became the fourth Luther player in school history to be named an All-American and the first since 2013, all under the direction of Head Coach Chris Garcia-Prats.

Under the direction of Head Coach Adam Strand and Associate Head Coach Miriam Bloom Skrade, both tennis programs made national tournament appearances for the first time since 2011. Both teams advanced to their respective national tournaments by capturing the team title of the American Rivers Conference AQ Tournaments. The men made their seventh national tournament appearance, while the women made their 14th.

Forty-two student-athletes have received the distinguished NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and 69 student-athletes have been awarded a CoSIDA Academic All-America honor.

Since 1993-94, the 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, 2,258 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; 563-387-1287; email: [email protected].