Luitjens inducted into Hall of Fame

Lance Luitjens, left, and his wife, Renae, were both inducted into the Northern State University Hall of Fame recently. Both played basketball for the Wolves during their college careers.

Custer High School graduate Lance Luitjens was recently inducted into the Northern State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Luitjens, a former CHS basketball star, earned a bachelor of science in education in elementary education from Northern State in 1996.

While at Northern, Luitjens was a member of the men’s basketball team. The Wolves were the 1993 and 1994 NAIA National Runners-up going 59-11 overall in those two seasons. Luitjens was named an NAIA All-American in 1995 as the Wolves advanced to the national tournament semifinals. He was also selected to the 1995 and 1996 NSIC All-Conference teams. Luitjens is 11th all-time in career scoring with 1,708 points.

Following graduation Luitjens had been honored as the Region Coach of the Year in 2000 for girls basketball, state championship runner-up in 2000 as a coach in Vermillion, Rural Principal of the Year Finalist for Colorado in 2009, Principal of the Year Finalist for Colorado in 2010 and the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award in 2011.

Luitjens is now assistant principal at Sioux Falls Lincoln High School and is married to Renae (Osthus), who graduated from Northern in 1995. They have two children.

Renae was also inducted into the hall of fame, as part of the 1991-92 women’s basketball team that won the university’s first team national championship in school history with a 73-56 victory over Tarleton State. The Wolves finished with an overall season record of 30-4 and earned numerous season awards.

After falling in the first game of the season, the Wolves rattled off 12 straight wins rolling into the heart of their championship season. They won the Northern Sun Conference, notching the first league title since the 1987-88 season as they advanced to the NAIA National Tournament.

Lance Luitjens is the son of former Custer High School basketball coach Larry Luitjens, now of Sioux Falls, and Cherry Luitjens, now of Rapid City.