August 19, 1952|
Silver Lake, Kansas
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1976–1977||Pittsburg State (assistant)|
|1977–1978||Kansas State (assistant)|
|1979–1982||Kansas State (assistant)|
|2003–2004||New York Knicks (assistant)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
2 NCAA Division I Regional—Final Four|
Big Ten regular season (1998)
2 MWC Tournament (2007, 2008)
2× SEC Coach of the Year (1992, 1994)|
MWC Coach of the Year (2008)
Big 12 Coach of the Year (2014)
2× Big Eight Player of the Year (1973, 1974)
Lonnie Duane Kruger (born August 19, 1952) is an American college and professional basketball coach who is currently the men's basketball head coach of the University of Oklahoma. Kruger played college basketball for Kansas State University. He has served as the head coach of the University of Texas–Pan American, Kansas State, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Kruger is one of only two coaches ever (the other being Tubby Smith) to lead five different programs to the NCAA Tournament. His teams have participated in 17 NCAA Tournaments, including 2 Final Fours (1994 with Florida; 2016 with Oklahoma).
Lon Kruger was born and raised in Silver Lake, Kansas. As a point guard, Kruger led the Kansas State Wildcats to back-to-back Big Eight championships in 1972 and 1973 under coach Jack Hartman. Kruger was named the Big Eight Player of the Year in 1973 and 1974, after being named the Big Eight Sophomore of the Year in 1972. He was also a shortstop on the Kansas State baseball team.
Head coaching history
As basketball coach of the Wildcats, he led K-State to the NCAA Tournament in each of his four seasons as head coach and the Elite Eight in 1988—a team featuring future NBA players Mitch Richmond and Steve Henson—before losing to arch-rival Kansas Jayhawks, the eventual national champion.
From Kansas State, Kruger moved south to the University of Florida, taking over a Gators program that had limited success not only nationally, but in the Southeastern Conference.
He was named coach of the year in both 1992 and 1994.
From there, he accepted the vacant position at Illinois. While there, he became the only Big Ten coach to successfully sign three consecutive Illinois Mr. Basketball winners, after inking Sergio McClain, Frank Williams, and Brian Cook between 1997 and 1999. Kruger is one of five coaches to take four different teams to the men's NCAA basketball tournament.
Kruger accepted the job at UNLV in 2004.
His son, Kevin, took advantage of a new NCAA rule, called Proposal 2005-54, before the 2006–2007 season to transfer from Arizona State and immediately play for his father at UNLV without sitting out one year. The controversial rule was repealed for the following season due to what some claimed were the unintended consequence of allowing players with undergraduate diplomas to immediately begin playing for another school without sitting out for any time.
On April 1, 2011, sources confirmed that Kruger had accepted the head coaching position with the Oklahoma Sooners, replacing the fired Jeff Capel. Kruger's new Oklahoma Sooners compensation package purportedly exceed $2.2 million annually. Despite his success, he was not immune to criticism, having won just one regular season conference championship in his lengthy college coaching career (Illinois tied for the Big 10 title in 1997-98). However, Kruger has generally enjoyed a positive reputation overall.
On November 30, 2012, Kruger earned his 500th career head coaching victory as his Sooners beat Northwestern State 69-65 in Norman.
On March 17, 2013, Kruger became the only head coach in Division I history to lead five programs to the NCAA tournament when his Sooner team was named a 10 seed in the event's South region. The feat was later matched by Tubby Smith in 2016 when he took Texas Tech to the tournament.
On March 20, 2015, Kruger became the only head coach in Division I history to win an NCAA tournament game with five different programs. He is one of four active coaches who have had three different teams in the Elite Eight.
He reached his second career Final Four with Oklahoma in 2016.
Prior to accepting the head coaching position at UNLV in 2004, Kruger was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. It was as head coach of the Hawks that Kruger guaranteed season-ticket holders in 2003 that the Hawks would make the playoffs or get a $125 refund. The Hawks failed to make the playoffs and Kruger was fired midway through the 2002-2003 season.
Head coaching record
|Texas–Pan American Broncs (NCAA Division I independent) (1982–1986)|
|Texas–Pan American:||52–59 (.468)|
|Kansas State Wildcats (Big Eight Conference) (1986–1990)|
|1986–87||Kansas State||20–11||8–6||4th||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|1987–88||Kansas State||25–9||11–3||2nd||NCAA Division I Elite Eight|
|1988–89||Kansas State||19–11||8–6||3rd||NCAA Division I First Round|
|1989–90||Kansas State||17–15||7–7||4th||NCAA Division I First Round|
|Kansas State:||81–46 (.638)||34–22 (.607)|
|Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1990–1996)|
|1991–92||Florida||19–14||9–7||2nd (East)||NIT Semifinal|
|1992–93||Florida||16–12||9–7||3rd (East)||NIT First Round|
|1993–94||Florida||29–8||12–4||T–1st (East)||NCAA Division I Final Four|
|1994–95||Florida||17–13||8–8||3rd (East)||NCAA Division I First Round|
|Florida:||104–80 (.565)||51–47 (.520)|
|Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten Conference) (1996–2000)|
|1996–97||Illinois||22–10||11–7||4th||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|1997–98||Illinois||23–10||13–3||T–1st||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|1999–00||Illinois||22–10||11–5||5th||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|Illinois:||81–48 (.628)||38–28 (.576)|
|UNLV Runnin' Rebels (Mountain West Conference) (2004–2011)|
|2004–05||UNLV||17–14||7–7||4th||NIT Second Round|
|2006–07||UNLV||30–7||12–4||2nd||NCAA Division I Sweet 16|
|2007–08||UNLV||27–8||12–4||2nd||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|2008–09||UNLV||21–11||9–7||5th||NIT First Round|
|2009–10||UNLV||25–9||11–5||T–3rd||NCAA Division I First Round|
|2010–11||UNLV||24–9||11–5||3rd||NCAA Division I Round of 64|
|UNLV:||161–71 (.694)||72–38 (.655)|
|Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 Conference) (2011–present)|
|2012–13||Oklahoma||20–12||11–7||4th||NCAA Division I Round of 64|
|2013–14||Oklahoma||23–10||12–6||2nd||NCAA Division I Round of 64|
|2014–15||Oklahoma||24–11||12–6||T–2nd||NCAA Division I Sweet 16|
|2015–16||Oklahoma||29–8||12–6||3rd||NCAA Division I Final Four|
|2017–18||Oklahoma||18–14||8–10||T–8th||NCAA Division I Round of 64|
|Oklahoma:||140–91 (.606)||66–61 (.520)|
Postseason invitational champion
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Post season||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|Atlanta||2000–01||82||25||57||.305||7th in Central||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|
|Atlanta||2001–02||82||33||49||.402||6th in Central||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|
- List of college men's basketball coaches with 600 wins
- List of NCAA Division I Men's Final Four appearances by coach
- "Kruger transfers to play for father", Associated Press, July 10, 2006
- Kantowski, Ron (January 7, 2007). "Ron Kantowski eulogizes a 'wacko' NCAA rule that, while used innocently enough by UNLV's Lon and Kevin Kruger, left the door open for 'unintended consequences'". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
- Ryan Greene, "Lon Kruger changes course, accepts head coaching position at Oklahoma," Las Vegas Sun (April 1, 2011). Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- Matt Youmans, "Kruger leaves UNLV, heads to Oklahoma," Las Vegas Review-Journal (April 2, 2011). Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- "Kruger leaving UNLV for Oklahoma," The Los Angeles Times (April 2, 2011). Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- GoAZCats.com Message Board Archived August 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- Cougar Board
- Championship Week Preview
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 20, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- CBS NCAA takeaways
- 1998 USA Basketball Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Dortch, Chris, String Music: Inside the Rise of SEC Basketball, Brassey's, Inc., Dulles, Virginia (2002). ISBN 1-57488-439-5.
- Koss, Bill, Pond Birds: Gator Basketball, The Whole Story From The Inside, Fast Break Press, Gainesville, Florida (1996). ISBN 978-0-8130-1523-1.