Bob Lutz ready to cut loose
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Bob Lutz has been a reporter at the Wichita Eagle since 1974 and after 42 years, Lutz will be retiring from the newspaper business.
As he looks back on the journey he’s taken while writing for The Eagle, Lutz said he takes pride in having worked there since the beginning of his career.
“It’s been my dream job,” Lutz said. “I grew up wanting to do something similar to this, so here I am. I got to be a sports journalist for four decades and it’s the only job I’ve ever had. It’s very rare to start your career at one place and finish it at that same place.”
In addition to other sports in the state of Kansas, Lutz has covered many Shocker basketball games and considers the Final Four matchup in 2013 to be one of his favorite games to attend.
“If I had to say, it would be covering the Shockers when they got to the Final Four,” Lutz said. “The first time they had done that in a long, long time, 48 years, and then covering Kansas when they had won the National Championship in 2008. Those would be two of the highlights
“It’s all been a highlight; from covering high school sports to whatever, it’s all been enjoyable.”
Paul Suellentrop, who joined The Eagle’s staff in 2000, has been alongside Lutz at WSU games since 2005.
“He’s been great, he’s a great friend. He’s very helpful, he’s always been friendly and giving of his time,” Suellentrop said of Lutz. “We spent a lot of time on the road, so it’s kind of helpful if you can get along with somebody when you’re driving nine hours to Carbondale and six hours to Omaha.”
Sullentrop considers Lutz a great resource for anything sports in the state of Kansas.
“He’s kind of this living, walking sports history guy,” Sullentrop said. “That’s a great resource.”
Suellentrop is the beat reporter for the Shockers and said he and Lutz have learned how to collaborate on story ideas in order to provide the best content to their readers.
“I think we have a good way of working together where we try to not overlap too much,” Suellentrop said. “You want to decide what’s most interesting, what are people going to want to read. That’s an important part of it.”
Lutz noted that one of the biggest things he’ll miss are the people he has worked with.
“We get a bad rap nowadays, but I think we’re trying to good stuff and for the most part I think our intentions are there,” Lutz said. “It’s just been fun to be around my fellow journalists this long.”
Opinion pieces can be difficult, Suellentrop highlighted, but he thinks Lutz has been able to build relationships and discuss change within the sports community.
“He has a really good way of dealing with people,” Suellentrop said. “He’s in a different position than I am; he’s more opinion based. When you’re making opinions and kind of judging people sometimes you can ruffle feathers.”
Suellentrop said Lutz has always been willing to take an opinionated stance on Shocker basketball, sometimes even creating tension with head coach Gregg Marshall.
“He and Gregg have battled at times,” Suellentrop said. “That’s just kind of the nature of it and how things go. I think he has a good way of dealing with people, but he’s not afraid to have his opinion and as a columnist that’s kind of the number one thing you want to have.”
Lutz said he isn’t finished covering the Shockers altogether, he just won’t be doing it for the paper.
“I’m still going to be working at KFH, so I’ll still be around,” Lutz said. “I’ll still be covering the Shockers just in a different medium.
“I’ll still be at the home games for sure, and maybe bring my wife, as a quote unquote non-media–I was starting to say ‘fan’ but I don’t know if I could ever be a fan after this many years–but as a not media person.”