Paladins rowing coach Stephen Lutz earned a Long Service Award for his 25 years of dedication to the sport, as Rowing Canada (RCA) unveiled its 2020 Excellence Award winners throughout January.
The RCA Awards recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions of the Canadian rowing community, according to a release from RMC Paladins, dated Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021.
The effort Lutz continues to pour into the sport is born out of a passion for coaching and its rewarding experiences. “Introducing athletes to rowing and watching them get hooked is such a great pleasure,” he said.
A LaSalle graduate, Lutz has been part of Kingston’s rowing scene dating back to the 90s. He got his start at the Kingston Rowing Club (KRC), coaching local high school crews from Regi, KCVI, and QECVI during the spring season, RMC said in the release. His time at KRC transitioned into summer programs with athletes from all the local schools as well as recreational rowers, before he started with the novice program at Queen’s University.
Over the years at Queen’s, Lutz was involved in every facet of the program, moving from the novice group into junior varsity and varsity, RMC said in the release.
In 2017, Lutz crossed the causeway to join the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) as one of the rowing coaches with the Paladins competitive club. He also continues to be involved at KRC as a coach in the junior program and as a member of the Board of Directors.
Looking back at the last 25 years, Lutz has always enjoyed seeing people he has coached starting to give back to the sport.
“I think seeing athletes I coached competing at high level competitions – National Team, Olympics – is amazing,” Lutz said. “But running into former athletes at regattas who have also transitioned into the coach role is so rewarding.”
A couple of those athletes-turned-coaches include an Olympian and a young colleague with the Paladins.
“At the local level, I am really excited that I get to see or work with coaches that I have formerly coached, such as Rob Gibson, who has been to three Olympics – most notably bringing home a silver in the Men’s 8 – and has countless Pan American Games and FISA World Championships, who is now coaching at KRC,” Lutz said. “And then there’s Alexandra Overveld, who I also coached in her high school days, and is now assisting at RMC.”
Upon learning of his honour, Lutz gave thanks and recognition to a number of his colleagues and former athletes, including a couple of his fellow coaches.
“Thanks to Paul Overveld for offering me an opportunity to work with him at RMC, the support of the athletic department at RMC, and Jim Carruthers for his passionate support and financial backing of the rowing program,” Lutz said. “Thanks also to John Armitage – former head coach at Queen’s, current head coach at KRC – for the mentoring and comradery and level of excellence he instills in his crews and coaches.”
According to the release, Lutz has found time to make such contributions to rowing around his full-time career as a Sales Representative at Sutton Group Real Estate, where he is registered with BGRS – the relocation service for the Canadian Armed Forces.