HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – When legendary head basketball coach, Kevin Luke, announced his retirement a few weeks ago, Michigan Tech University didn’t have to look far for his replacement.
“I’ve grown up around this university. I spent most of my adult life here. It’s awesome. The community supports us, the university does a great job of supporting the athletics here, as well as the alumni. I just want to definitely keep the standards high that coach built. I worked with him for the last 13 years to keep the standards up. ‘X’s and O’s- wise there are not going to be many differences. Just looking forward to continuing the tradition that coach built with the Michigan Tech Men’s Basketball program. I’m excited to put a product out there that will keep the university, the community, and the alumni proud,” said Josh Buettner, who was hired as the new head coach of the Men’s Basketball team on April 16th.
Buettner was a two-time all-American for the Huskies during his playing career from 2001 to 2005. He also was named the GLIAC Player of the Year during his junior and senior seasons.
After a short stint playing professionally overseas, he returned to Houghton in 2008 as an assistant coach. He held that position until last season when he was named assistant head coach.
“People that remember me playing know that I wasn’t that fast and couldn’t jump that high and all the success that I had was just due to trying to outwork people. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do as a coach. I’m going to watch more film than the next guy, recruit harder,” said Buettner.
Speaking of recruiting, Buettner has made a name for himself as an elite recruiter. He says one of his strengths is being able to relate to his players.
“They listen to you more when they see that it worked for you. It’s proven that the things that I’ve done can get you results and take you places that they want to go,” said Buettner.
The Huskies will look to build on a historic season. Tech played their way to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship game marking their deepest postseason run in program history.
“It was such a crazy year memorable both in how well we did and everything we had to go through to get there. A lot of it had nothing to do with basketball but more of keeping our bubble and passing our covid tests and things like that. I’m just excited for, especially some younger guys, maybe we can develop a deeper bench. With a preseason, with our nonconference games, things like that,” said Buettner.
Buettner will not look to fill the big shoes left by the departure of Luke. Instead, he will blaze his own path.
“The biggest thing I need to be as a head coach is to be myself. Obviously, coach Luke’s personality is, you know, walk into a room and he’s just a larger in life personality. That’s not me as much. I have a different type of relationship with players. I’m going to continue to grow that and connect with them. What really matters is building that relationship and showing that love within the team. Coach and player, player to player, all the above. So, just need to be me and be authentic. They’ll know how much I care I can promise you that,” said Buettner.
The Huskies finished last season with a 15-8 overall record, 12-6 in conference play.