No April Fools joke ....Updated: April 1, 2011, 6:13 PM ET Source: Oklahoma to hire Lon Kruger
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Kruger and athletic director Joe Castiglione were negotiating through Friday with a deal to be announced soon.
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Oklahoma is holding off on an announcement until UNLV players are told of Kruger's departure.
Kruger, who played at Kansas State and once coached the Wildcats, has strong ties to the Midwest and Big 12.
Kruger was also coach at Illinois and Florida, taking the Gators to the 1994 Final Four. Kruger coached the Atlanta Hawks and was an assistant with the New York Knicks before taking the UNLV job seven seasons ago. He took the Runnin' Rebels to the NCAA tournament four times, including a Sweet 16 in 2007.
Oklahoma fired Jeff Capel on March 14, citing the need for a "change in direction."
Capel was 96-69 in five seasons as coach, but 27-36 the past two -- the Sooners' first back-to-back losing seasons since 1967.
UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood will now be faced with a critical hire as the Runnin' Rebels try to keep momentum in the Mountain West after the departure of Utah and BYU to the Pac-12 and WCC, respectively.
Former UNLV player and current Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Reggie Theus will actively pursue the position.
But the Rebels' job will be hotly pursued by a number of coaches. Former UNLV player Dave Rice, an assistant at BYU, will likely be the other top assistant considered.
Senior writer Andy Katz covers men's college basketball for ESPN.com.