Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger announced the hiring of his son, Kevin Kruger, as assistant coach on Wednesday.
Kevin returns to Norman after spending the past two seasons as an assistant coach for Northern Arizona University. Prior to NAU, he spent the 2013-14 campaign serving as a graduate assistant for the Sooners.
“We’re very pleased to have Kevin join our Oklahoma staff,” the elder Kruger said. “His experience playing professionally around the world combined with his time at Northern Arizona gives him a great base from which to work. His ability to relate with elite student-athletes mixed with his passion for player development will make him a great fit in Norman.”
Kevin Kruger, now age 32, had professional basketball stints in Bulgaria, Italy, China, Mexico, Belgium and Germany in addition to NBA training camp invitations from the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks. He also played with the Utah Flash and Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA D-League before launching his coaching career at OU.
“I’m incredibly excited and honored to have the opportunity to join this elite program,” Kevin Kruger said. “Being so close to it the past five years, I have a great feel for the culture and atmosphere. I’m prepared to come in and contribute to that in any way possible to help keep this program performing at the highest level.”
Collegiately, Kruger played three seasons for Arizona State from 2003-06. After earning a criminal justice degree from ASU, he transferred to UNLV to play for his father, who was the head coach prior to moving to Oklahoma. In his one season at UNLV in 2006-07, Kruger helped the Rebels win 30 games and reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991. He earned All-Mountain West Third Team honors and was named to the conference’s all-tournament team.
Kruger was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 and second-team NABC District 15 selection in his third and final season at Arizona State. Also a Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention pick, Kruger left the Sun Devils ranked fourth in career free throw percentage at ASU, fifth all-time in 3-pointers made and attempted and seventh in 3-point percentage.
“It’s always nice to be surrounded by family,” Kevin Kruger said. “I had the opportunity in Las Vegas to play for my dad and be around my mom and sister. I took full advantage of my time with family. I learned a lot at OU as a GA, and now returning as a full-time assistant, there is no one better to learn from and work alongside than my dad.”
Following Kevin Kruger’s hire, OU still has one assistant coaching position to fill after former assistants Lew Hill and Steve Henson accepted head coaching jobs at UTRGV and UTSA, respectively, earlier this month.
The Sooners are coming off a 29-8 season in which they advanced to the school’s fifth Final Four. Senior guard Buddy Hield won the Oscar Robertson Trophy, Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award as the national player of the year.