Oklahoma HC Lon Kruger Retiring After 35 Years as CBB Coach

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger on the sidelines in the second half of a second-round game against Gonzaga in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Oklahoma men's basketball head coach Lon Kruger is retiring, per Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

Kruger, 68, has served as Oklahoma's coach since the 2011-12 season and has been a college coach since 1982.

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

Lon Kruger will retire, and is expected to move back to Las Vegas to be around his son, new UNLV coach Kevin Kruger, and also spend time with his grandkids. Kruger one of the classiest people in the business. https://t.co/rHnSy7jHTT

Andy Katz @TheAndyKatz

OU confirmed Lon Kruger will meet with the team at 3 ET (h/t Stadium/CBS Sports/ESPN). Kruger has won at every college spot: Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma. His son, Kevin, is now the head coach at UNLV. Good to see when someone like Lon leaves on his terms.

Kruger has led Oklahoma to a 195-128 record in his 10 seasons at the helm, including seven NCAA tournament appearances and one Final Four berth. 

Previous stops included Texas-Rio Grande Valley (1982-86), Kansas State (1986-90), Florida (1990-96), Illinois (1996-00) and UNLV (2004-11). He's 674-432 for his career, with 20 Final Four appearances and two Final Four berths. 

As ESPN's Jeff Borzello noted, "Kruger is considered one of the more underrated coaches of his generation. One of only three coaches to lead five different programs to the NCAA tournament."

Eric Bossi @ebosshoops

Big news with Lon Kruger retiring at #Oklahoma. That will be a highly coveted job. Best of luck in retirement to one of the most high class, down to Earth people I've run across in my 20 years in this business.

Dana O'Neil😷 @DanaONeilWriter

Kruger is a first-class gentleman and a great coach.

Carson Cunningham @KOCOCarson

Lon Kruger did a fantastic job of bringing Oklahoma basketball back to prominence. The program had a losing record the two seasons prior to his arrival. Joe Castiglione will undoubtedly hire an elite recruiter. Plenty to sell w/ the tradition.

In his final season with the Sooners, Kruger led the team to a 16-11 record and a berth in the NCAA tournament, where they defeated Missouir before losing to undefeated Gonzaga in the second round. He'll leave behind one of the better coaching vacancies in college basketball, as the Sooners have reemerged as a major threat out of the Big 12. 

Oklahoma now has two basketball head-coaching vacancies, with women's head coach Sherri Coale retiring last week.