Luster to leave Tabor for Big XII

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Jeff Luster, who was appointed head men’s basketball coach at Tabor College earlier this spring, has announced his intention to resign that position and become director of basketball operations at Colorado University.


“It’s an opportunity that I wasn’t really looking for,” Luster said Monday. “It just kind of happened.”


He said he received a phone call from Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton over Memorial Day weekend and was offered the job.


As director of basketball operations, Luster said he will be in charge of team travel, scheduling and on-campus recruiting-as well as some on-floor coaching.


“It’s a chance for us to go back home and be in the Big XII,” Luster said. He and his wife, Shay, are Colorado natives. “I just don’t think you’re going to get very many opportunities to be asked to be a part of that.”


Luster said he became acquainted with Patton while helping at his basketball camps for several years.


“I know the staff really well,” Luster said. “It felt really comfortable, but at the same time there’s a knot in my stomach. What we have here (at Tabor) is very good, too. They’ve got a great chance to compete for a national championship here next season.”


Luster came to Tabor last summer as an assistant to head coach Don Brubacher, then was promoted to head coach after the season.


“It’s difficult because I want to be a head coach, but I also want to see if I can coach in Division I,” Luster said. “If ever I want to be a head coach in the KCAC, Tabor College is where I would want to be.”


Brubacher, Tabor athletic director, said Luster’s departure will be a loss for the program.


“It is unfortunate for our men’s basketball program at Tabor,” he said. “This does not make a positive statement about our basketball program or about our athletic program in general.


“We do need to realize, though, that some career opportunities come at inopportune times,” he added. “We need to to keep in mind the personal and professional well-being of the people who work here also.


“Jeff has accepted an opportunity that he thinks is extremely positive for him and for his family. We respect him for that decision. We regret the timing, but respect the decision that was made.”


Brubacher said the Tabor administration is expected to announce at the end of the week what strategy it will pursue in regard to the program’s direction.

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