NORMAN, Oklahoma – More than 100 former OU athletes gathered Saturday to take part in an OU Legends basketball game, and they had nothing but good things to say about new basketball coach Lon Kruger.
Kruger comes to the Sooners from UNLV, where he led the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament in four of the last five years. He has been a head coach since 1982 and has made eight stops along the way, including a stint in the NBA as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
"He's doing a good job," said former OU basketball player Garfield Heard. "I worked with him in Atlanta 10 years ago and I've seen what he can do over the years. He's gonna do a great job."
Kruger is widely respected throughout college basketball and has a history of success with almost every team he has coached. With the exception of his first job at Texas-Pan American, he has led every college team he coached to multiple NCAA Tournament berths, including a Final Four appearance in 1994.
"You can't have a finer man," said former OU player and Kansas head coach Ted Owens. "He was a great competitor as a player, great competitor as a coach. He's a communicator."
Kruger will be tasked with turning around a Sooner program that has struggled in recent years. The Sooners had a 5-11 record in conference play last season and finished tied for 11th in the Big 12.
"This is a premiere basketball facility, premiere basketball university," former OU standout Stacey King said. "We need to get it back to where it used to be when I played here, when Wayman Tisdale played here, Blake Griffin. It all starts with good leadership, and I think we got that with Lon Kruger."