Known for his prowess as both a skilled coach and gifted communicator, John Lotz spent most of his adult life as an ardent FCA advocate. He was the keynote speaker at numerous FCA conferences, rallies, and camps, including a memorable address to more than 500 college basketball coaches at the FCA Breakfast during the 1975 Final Four.
In his younger days, Lotz played college basketball at Baylor University and East Texas State College (now known as Texas A&M University-Commerce) before moving into the high school coaching ranks in his home state of New York. From 1965 to 1973, he was an assistant coach for Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina. During that eight-year tenure, the Tar Heels won four Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) titles, four NCAA regional titles, one National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title, and finished runner-up to UCLA in 1968.
Lotz took over as the head basketball coach at the University of Florida in 1973 where he served in that capacity for eight years. Following the 1976-77 season, the United Press International (UPI) named Lotz the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Coach of the Year while six of his players were named to the eight-man Academic All-SEC Team. Lotz was also named 1977 FCA National Coach of the Year.
In 1980, Lotz joined the athletic staff at UNC as an assistant athletic director where he oversaw its community outreach program. He most notably led student-athletes in various efforts including food drives, clothing collections, and the Juvenile Diabetes Walkathon. Primarily due to his work with youth in Chapel Hill, Lotz received the 1999 Governor’s Award for Excellence for Crime Prevention. He was also inducted into Long Island’s Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2003, FCA posthumously created the annual John Lotz “Barnabas” Award that honors “a basketball coach who best exhibits a commitment to Christ, integrity, encouragement to others, and lives a balanced life.”