A few years ago, one member of the family found a way to capture the hearts of the Auburn faithful like few have managed to do.
His name is Phil, but he is also known as “Lutzie.”
Philip Lutzenkirchen was a tight end on the Auburn football team from 2009 until 2012.
In that span of time, he became the top scoring tight end in Auburn career history with 14 career touchdowns.
He broke the single-season touchdown record for touchdowns by a tight end in 2011.
Lutzenkirchen also caught three game-winning touchdowns during his Auburn career, including the famous fourth-quarter touchdown to complete the “Camback” in 2010’s Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
At 6-foot-5, Lutzenkirchen could catch and run as well as he could block in Gus Malzahn’s Hurry Up, No Huddle offense.
“He’ll fit in well in any system,” Malzahn said at the 2013 Senior Bowl. “He’s very flexible. That’s his biggest asset. He can do a lot of different things well, and he’ll be very successful.”
After winning a national championship in 2010 and breaking records in 2011, Lutzenkirchen’s collegiate career ended in the 2012 Ole Miss game after trying to play the entire season with a hip injury.
“I heard if I had come out last year, I would have been taken in the third or fourth round,” Lutzenkirchen said before the 2013 NFL Draft. “But I’ve never regretted coming back to play my senior year and getting my degree. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but I still thought I’d be a fourth- or fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
“It was a long and frustrating day for me that Saturday by not getting taken.”
Regardless of his absence on the field, fans still cheered on “Lutzie.”
After graduating from Auburn, Lutzenkirchen was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Rams. The hip injury, however, lingered and affected Lutzenkirchen’s play.
Lutzenkirchen was released several months later, but said he has no regrets.
“I got released, and I could tell it was the right time to step away from it,” Lutzenkirchen said. “It was a tough decision, but not many people get that opportunity, and I’m just glad I got the shot.”
After being cut from the Rams, Lutzenkirchen delayed making any decisions about his future for a few more months.
“I gave it about a month or two to see if any teams would call,” Lutzenkirchen said. “After I had my hip surgery, it kind of went downhill from there, and I didn’t get back to my career here, athletically and physically.
“So, I decided to look elsewhere and hang up the cleats.”
Soon afterward, Lutzenkirchen met Brandt McDonald at Tim Hudson’s annual Iron Bowl Charity Golf Tournament.
Brandt is the Owner & President at McDonald & Barranco, Capital Wealth Management in Montgomery and graduated from Auburn in 1989 with a degree in finance.
It didn’t take long for the two to hit it off.
“We started having a conversation about life after football, and it just so happened that he was looking and trying to figure out what he was going to do,” McDonald said. “He’s got honesty and integrity, he’s an honorable person and he’s proven that to the Auburn people, so that was a hurdle that we didn’t even have to overcome because I knew that immediately.”
McDonald hired Lutzenkirchen shortly afterward as an assistant financial adviser. McDonald saw Lutzenkirchen’s knowledge of sports and connection with Auburn as a business advantage.
“We manage money for a lot of [professional] athletes and a lot of them have gone to Auburn and so it was like a hand in glove for Phil to join us,” McDonald said.
When asked if McDonald would do the famous “Lutzie” dance after Lutzenkirchen signs a big client, McDonald said there would be a good chance.
“If he brought on board a first-round draft pick, I’d do it,” McDonald said. “I might not look as good as him, but I’d do it.”