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 243 IIAC titles. The men have won 165 team championships, while the women have won 78.
Note: The Iowa 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 56-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.
This past year (2016-17) Luther won the 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 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 three times, second 10 times and won the All-Sports Championship in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Twenty-nine individual national championships and 338 All-American honors have been earned by Luther student-athletes.
During the 2016-17 campaign, Justin Kreiter '17 became a two-time All-American in wrestling finishing as the national runner-up at 184. All-America honors were also presented to three softball players, marking the fourth 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 third team honors were presented to pitcher Samantha Bratland '19.
Forty-two student-athletes have received the distinguished NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and 68 student-athletes have been awarded a CoSIDA Academic All-America honor. Three were added to this list during the 2016-17 campaign. This group included seniors Isaac Jensen - Cross County (Fall of 2016), Clare Slagel '16 - Swimming (Spring of 2017), and Justin Kreiter - Wrestling (Spring of 2017).
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, 2,048 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.