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× MWC Tournament championship (2007, 2008)
Big 10 regular season championship (1998)
2× NCAA Regional championship - Final Four
|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).
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 has been repealed for the next season due to the "unintended consequences" 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 exceeds $2.2 million annually. Despite his success, he has not been 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 generally enjoys 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)|
|Kansas State Wildcats (Big Eight Conference) (1986–1990)|
|1986–87||Kansas State||20–11||8–6||4th||NCAA Second Round|
|1987–88||Kansas State||25–9||11–3||2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1988–89||Kansas State||19–11||8–6||3rd||NCAA First Round|
|1989–90||Kansas State||17–15||7–7||4th||NCAA 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 Semifinals|
|1992–93||Florida||16–12||9–7||3rd (East)||NIT First Round|
|1993–94||Florida||29–8||12–4||T–1st (East)||NCAA Final Four|
|1994–95||Florida||17–13||8–8||3rd (East)||NCAA 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 Second Round|
|1997–98||Illinois||23–10||13–3||T–1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1999–00||Illinois||22–10||11–5||5th||NCAA 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 Sweet Sixteen|
|2007–08||UNLV||27–8||12–4||2nd||NCAA Second Round|
|2008–09||UNLV||21–11||9–7||5th||NIT First Round|
|2009–10||UNLV||25–9||11–5||T–3rd||NCAA First Round|
|2010–11||UNLV||24–9||11–5||3rd||NCAA 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 Round of 64|
|2013–14||Oklahoma||23–10||12–6||2nd||NCAA Round of 64|
|2014–15||Oklahoma||24–11||12–6||T–2nd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2015–16||Oklahoma||29–8||12–6||3rd||NCAA Final Four|
|Oklahoma:||111–57 (.661)||52–38 (.578)|
National champion 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|
- "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
- Cougar Board
- Championship Week Preview
- CBS NCAA takeaways
- 1998 USA Basketball
- 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.