Oklahoma Men's Basketball Coach Lon Kruger Announces Retirement

Thursday, March 25th 2021, 1:32 pm
By: Nate Kotisso


Oklahoma men's basketball coach Lon Kruger is retiring.

News 9 Sports Director Dean Blevins confirmed the news, which was first reported by Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

Kruger's head coaching career began at Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas (now known as University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) in 1982. His last season with the Broncs was one of the program's most successful (20-8 record) in history.

He left the Lone Star State to coach Kansas State, his alma mater, from 1986 to 1990 where he led the Wildcats to four NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons. Kruger then earned the job at Florida to start the 1990s where he carried the Gators to a Final Four appearance in 1994.

He then departed Gainesville, Florida to take the head coaching position at Illinois. Under his direction, the Fighting Illini won a Big Ten regular season championship in 1998 and went to three Big Dances in four years.

After a stop coaching the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA, Kruger returned to the college game in 2004 to be the head coach at UNLV. During his tenure at UNLV, Kruger coached his son, Kevin, to a 30-win season and an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen in 2007.

Kruger was named OU head coach on April 1, 2011 and now makes his retirement public nearly 10 years to the day of his official arrival in Norman.

He led a resurgence of the OU men's basketball program that included a Final Four appearance in 2016. Kruger coached the Sooners to a second round appearance in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, resulting in a loss to the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.

He is one of three coaches to lead five different programs to the NCAA Tournament. Iona's Rick Pitino and High Point's Tubby Smith are the other two.

Kruger's retirement announcement comes a week after former OU women's basketball coach Sherri Coale announced her retirement from coaching.