Former Longwood basketball coach dies at 93

Published 8:34 am Sunday, May 9, 2021

Former Longwood men’s basketball coach Cal Luther, who coached such all-time Lancer greats as Jerome Kersey and Kevin Jefferson, passed away Saturday at the age of 93.

Luther served as head coach of Longwood men’s basketball for nine seasons from 1981-1990, leading the program to a 136-105 (.564) record during the university’s first years competing at the Division II level. He mentored some of the best players in program history, including the 17-year NBA veteran Kersey, Longwood Athletics Hall-of-Famer Jefferson and all-time assists leader Joe Remar and won more games than any coach in Longwood men’s basketball history.

Longwood’s first 20-win season at the Division II level came under Luther in 1988-89 when he led the team to a 20-7 record as a D-II Independent. That season followed a 1987-88 season in which he was named Mason-Dixon Conference Coach of the Year and Kodak Division II South District Coach of the Year on the strength of a 19-10 performance in Longwood’s final year in the Mason-Dixon Conference.

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Luther’s Longwood teams still hold program records for fewest points allowed per game (61.6 in 1984-85) and assists per game (17.0 in 1982-83). His teams also account for 12 of Longwood basketball’s 44 100-point games.

Luther’s nine-year stint at Longwood was part of a 40-year career as a head coach at the collegiate level in which he amassed a 500-499-1 record. Those stops included DePauw (1954-58), Murray State (1958-75), Longwood (1981-90), UT Martin (1990-99) and Bethel (1999-2000). His 136-105 (.564) record at Longwood trailed only his 241-154 (.610) record in 17 seasons at Murray State as the winningest stint of his career.

A native of Valdosta, Ga., Luther played his college basketball at Valparaiso and graduated in 1951. His coaching career also took him to Egypt where he coached the Egyptian National Team at the 1990 FIBA World Championship.