Karen Lutzke is in her ninth season at Olivet College, serving as the head men's and women's track & field coach in 2018-19. She also serves as head coach of the men's and women's cross country programs.
In her second stint at Olivet, Lutzke has mentored three All-American selections on the track. The first to earn All-American honors was Jalen Weaver in the 800-meter run during the 2015 indoor season. She then coached Andrew Benkovsky to All-American honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase during the outdoor season. At the 2014 and 2015 MIAA Field Day, her male middle distances runners won the 800-meter title, while Connor Bauserman won the 800-meter MIAA indoor title in 2016 and 2017, and the 1,500-meter MIAA outdoor title in 2017. Bauserman earned All-American honors with a seventh-place finish in the 800-meter run at the 2017 NCAA DIII Indoor Championships.
On the women’s side, Lutzke coached Allyson Schultz to second-team All-MIAA honors during the 2015 cross country season. Schultz was the first women’s cross country athlete to earn those honors since Kathy Hughes did in 1998, who was also coached by Lutzke. She has also coached four women to All-MIAA honors in track and field. She helped Bruce Baker earn second-team All-Conference cross country honors in 2016 and All-MIAA track and field honors in 2018.
The Comet track & field and cross country athletes have also excelled in the classroom. Four athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America® honors after being selected to the CoSIDA Academic All District VI teams. Three individuals earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors individually in the past two years. In addition, nine of Lutzke’s cross country teams have received the MIAA Team GPA award and more than 40 student-athletes have been selected to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
Lutzke has an extensive coaching background. She began her collegiate coaching career as head women’s cross country/assistant women’s track and field coach at Michigan State University (MSU) from 1990-98 and coached two cross country All-Americans. Lutzke then spent a year as Olivet’s head men’s and women’s cross country/head women’s track and field coach. During her time at Olivet, she coached Kathy Hughes, the only cross country and track NCAA All-American in school history. After leaving Olivet, she was at CMU for 10 years. From 1999-2003, Lutzke was assistant women’s track and field/cross country coach and from 2003-2009, she served as head women’s track and field/cross country coach.
At CMU, Lutzke coached three Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship teams and was named MAC Coach of the Year three times. She was also selected as the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Regional Coach of the Year. Overall, she coached 30 All-MAC selections in track and field and eight All-MAC selections in cross country.
Lutzke earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from MSU in 1985. She participated in cross country and track and was a member of the cross country team, which placed fourth at the 1981 NCAA Division I National Championships. Individually, Lutzke earned All-American honors in cross country. After her collegiate career, she was a USA Olympic Trials qualifier in the 10,000 meter (1984 and 1988) and 5,000 meter (1984).
Lutzke lives in Williamston with her husband, Mitch. They have three children, Matt, Greg and Laura.