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 57-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.
Following the 2016-17 campaign, Luther won the Women's All Sports Championship (currently called the Majorie Giles Women's Sports Championship) for the tenth time since the inception of this award in 1982-83.
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 341 All-American honors have been earned by Luther student-athletes.
During the 2017-18 campaign, the Luther softball team placed third at the NCAA III National Tournament, its highest finish in school history. All-America honors were also presented to three softball players, marking the fifth time in school history that three players have been so honored in the same year. Earning first team NFCA All-American honors at shortstop was Anna Strien '18. Second team honors went to outfielder Ashley Burrows '17 and pitcher Samantha Bratland '19.
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, 2,155 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.