Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., and Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera announced today that Matt Lottich has been hired as the 22nd head coach in the history of the Valpo men’s basketball program. Lottich, who has been a member of the Crusader coaching staff for the last three years, is just the program’s fifth head coach in the last 36 years.
“We’re delighted Matt Lottich will serve as coach for our men’s basketball team,” Heckler said. “He has proven to be an outstanding coach who demonstrates a deep love for and commitment to the University’s core beliefs, values and ideals, and I am confident he will foster these values in our exceptional student-athletes.”
Lottich arrived at Valparaiso University in summer 2013 and has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach on the Valpo men’s basketball coaching staff, helping guide the Crusaders to 78 victories during that span. Valpo has won two Horizon League regular season championships and one league tournament title in Lottich’s tenure.
“It is with great excitement and privilege that I take on the responsibility of being named the next head basketball coach at Valparaiso University,” Lottich said. “I understand the rich history of success this program has enjoyed, from “The Worlds Tallest Team” in 1944, to the great Gene Bartow coached teams in the late 1960s, to the championship years of Homer Drew and most recently the unprecedented success of Bryce Drew.”
The Crusaders have recorded the top two victory totals in program history in the last two seasons with Lottich on the bench. Valpo broke the previous school record for wins in a season during the 2014-2015 campaign, winning 28 games and earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. This past season, Valpo won a program-record 30 games and advanced to the NIT championship game at Madison Square Garden.
“Matt Lottich made an immediate impact on the program and has been around successful basketball his entire life,” LaBarbera said. “He has a keen basketball mind and a strong ability to teach and communicate. He offers our men’s basketball team the continuity we strive for and will uphold and elevate the program’s standard of excellence.”
Lottich brings nearly a decade of professional playing experience to the head coaching position at Valparaiso University. “This program is excellent, and as I begin as head coach I want to honor the success of the past but at the same time push forward into the future,” Lottich said. “It is my job to create an environment that allows our basketball players to excel academically, athletically and socially. I will lead our team to use the gifts that God has given them to represent our University and our community to the utmost and continue the championship tradition that is Valparaiso University.”
Lottich spent eight years playing professionally in Japan for the Oita Heat Devils and the Osaka Evessa, earning All-Star recognition four times. He also played one season in Germany in the Bundesliga for the Dusseldorf Giants, played one season in New Zealand in the NBL for the Harbor Heat and was a member of the New Jersey Nets’ summer league team in 2004.
Lottich played collegiately at Stanford University from 2000 through 2004. As a senior in 2003-2004, he helped lead the Cardinal to the Pac-10 title while earning NABC All-Star plaudits, awarded to the top-15 seniors in college basketball. He was also a member of the Wooden Award midseason watch list and was an Honorable Mention All Pac-10 selection as a senior. Lottich was also a member of the program’s conference championship squad as a freshman in 2000-2001 and still ranks among Stanford’s single-season and career leaders in 3-pointers made.
Off the court, Lottich came to Valpo from the National Collegiate Scouting Association, where he started in January 2013. Lottich ascended to the position of head scout during his time with the NCSA, which helps high school athletes navigate the world of college recruiting. Lottich also co-founded the TEAM Life Skills basketball camp in 2004 and spent nine years managing and developing the camp.
Lottich played his prep basketball at New Trier [Ill.] H.S., where he was named the Chicago Tribune Athlete of the Year in 2000 and holds the distinction of being the program’s all-time leading scorer. Lottich graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and currently resides in Valparaiso with his wife, Kylan, and their four children: Grace, Matthan, Christian and Landon.