Monday, February 11, 2008

Lutz explains 'idiots' comment

Charlotte 49ers men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz asked me to share this open letter to Charlotte fans regarding his comments made in Sunday's Observer following the 49ers' win over St. Bonaventure:
To our loyal 49er fans:

It is my understanding that some of the 49er faithful are concerned about my comments in an article in Sunday's paper written by David Scott. I am truly sorry if I offended any of the thousands of wonderful fans that we have at UNC Charlotte. I would like to explain that the comment was directed toward a very few fans who had been incredibly rude and harsh on Lee during the past week. I have no problem with fans questioning me as that is part of my business but I am very protective of our players. My point was that fans who attack players like Lee really don't understand what is going on and those attacks had occurred during the past week and during our home game by a season ticket holder who booed him throughout the game.

I respect the right of fans to question my decisions because that is the nature of my profession and certainly respect those who confront me directly rather than blindly on a message board or by anonymous emails from bogus return addresses. I love the passion of the 49er faithful and regret hurting any true supporter. Those of you who have contacted me in the past know that I respond to every communication I receive regarding our team and my coaching decisions.

After defeating St. Bonaventure I was asked about the previous two losses and was passionately defending Lee during the press conference that followed the game. He is everything that is right about college basketball and I know that the overwhelming majority of you understand how special he is. While this has been a difficult year in some ways the amazing support of Niner Nation has been constant and I will always be thankful. While most of us make mistakes from time to time, a public blunder is sometimes difficult to get past.

All I can ask is that our true fans try to understand that my objective was only to protect Lee (and to single out the few who had been critical of him despite all he has done for our team and program) and to ask our fans to take out any frustrations on me rather than our players. This group in particular (led by Lee) gives me and you everything they have every day whether it is practice, game, academics, or community service and I felt compelled to defend them (and him).

Again, I wish I could turn back the clock and respond more precisely but now simply ask for forgiveness from anyone who felt I was talking about Niner Nation as a whole. That was clearly not my intent. You should know that I will always fight for my players even in a down year as we experienced in 06-07. However, I will work hard to do so in a more positive and clear manner.

Go Niners! See you at Halton Arena on Wednesday for the Xavier game.
Bobby Lutz


Anonymous said...

I am very proud of Lutz and Leemire. They have proven to be great assets. When you can take a young team like we have and be still in the hunt for the NCAA tourney, it says something. We are still be talked about nationally and that is something this team has not received in awhile. Lutz is a great coach. Leemire has been and is a great player. I think we owe Leemire a big round of applause for his leadership and effectiveness this season. Niner Nation keep your heads up because this season is far from over. GO NINERS!

Anonymous said...

Coach Lutz is a class-act and the NCAAA should be extremely proud of him for the way he mentors his players at Charlotte. I saw Coach Lutz and the 49ers take on UMass last month and he's a great coach. His kids are a scrappy team that are on the rise in the A-10.
- Dave Exum (Boston Herald)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bobby! I know a lot of people were concerned with some choice in wording, but there is no question that you and the team are all in. Your comments showed your passion for this team, and I, as a Niner fan, appreciate that greatly! Thank you for clearing the air on this. I look forward to taking down X this Wednesday! Go Niners!

Anonymous said...

He shouldn't apologize. They were idiot fans.

Anonymous said...

No reason to apologize. Some fans are idiots...think they know everything. It's always easy to point blame when it's not you playing or coaching.

Judy...if we beat X you have to resign Lutz and fast.

Go 49ers.

Anonymous said...

The sooner the air was cleared, the better.

This what I thought you meant, but I'm pretty sure that not everyone interpreted it the same way.

Bottom line, your statement here eliminates any doubt and puts the focus back where it should be. That is, this team winning the next game on the schedule.


Anonymous said...

Thats the one thing that made coach Lutz so special from day one.
He always fought for his team and the Green ! Even to the point of physical contact with other coaches from time to time!!! He may or may not be the greatest x's & o's coaches around, but he's a true 49 and he's OUR COACH !
I'm glad he responded to the comments, which I'm sure most true fans knew his intent. I don't think anyone wanted Lee executed or imprisoned, but he could be a tad more patient. If he could learn to use screens like Brenden or Diego he'd have a lot better looks. But I'd go to battle with him and Bobby any day of the week !!!

Anonymous said...

Lutz is such a stand up guy. He had every right to say what he said because people did attack Goldwire for no good reason. Sure he had to bad games but just thank what our record would be this year without him, probably at the bottom of the A10 where the predicted us to be.

Im proud to have Lutz coaching and Goldwire leading the team on the court!

Ill be there wed. to help cheer us to victory.

GO NINERS! beat Xav

Unknown said...

If someone who claims to be a fan, or even worse is a season ticket holder, is booing a Charlotte player during a game then they are an idiot. I also understand that as a coach you try to protect your players, but you and your players must expect to be critique when you perform in a public forum. It is not realistic to expect that regular spectators and/or true fans to not have legitimate criticism of not only you, but your players if they see mistakes being made. As long as nobody makes personal attacks about someone, comments about performance should be fair game, as long as it is done in a respectful manor.

Anonymous said...

What are you proud of exactly - his 37% FG shooting or his or his upside down assist/turnover ratio?

Justin Ritchie said...

Bring on the Musketwomen. Lutz is an awesome coach and has really turned things around from last year, including his public perception! Hats off to a great coach and I hope we get an NCAA bid to honor such a crucial and successful season in 49er basketball history.

TheGruche said...

No apology needed. But of course he'll do the gentlemanly thing because that's who he is. Sign this guy long term.

Anonymous said...

Lutz I'm proud of you and the niners. I'm following you from Jersey. Got you on the internet. and on 610 over the net.

I've got the A-1o tourn on my calendar. Niners are the A-10 Southeast Beast.

Keep focused!

Anonymous said...

A fan from Raleigh here..., similar things are being said about NCSU's a shame that a season is examined on a per game basis vs the season as a whole...I like this team and the direction coach Lutz has them going. Stay focused and continue to play hard...this can still be a very rewarding season.

Anonymous said...

Poor choice of words by Coach Lutz. I am a long time supporter of Coach Lutz, but Judy Rose needs to have a long discussion with him before extending his contract. We all make mistakes. Just be sure he knows he was wrong to call fans idiots. Go Niners.

Anonymous said...

Those fans were idiots. Lutz deserves a contract extension for telling it like it is.

Anonymous said...

As a Davidson fan, I have tremendous respect for Lutz and Goldwire. Coach Lutz is absolutely right to defend his players from destructive criticism by fans who obviously value performance over players. It is very refreshing to see a coach who has the integrity to rebuke indefensibly unappreciative fans.

Anonymous said...

Lutz is a standup guy but why can't he beat a team from Cincinnati? The Univ. of Cincinnati beat our brains in for years now we can't beat Xavier.

Anonymous said...

You have a great coach but your team continues to underachieve--Tough decisions ahead for Judy but without extension Bobby can throw next year's recruiting out the window. Team is not mentally tough. Good luck but we got your number at X.