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Oklahoma Basketball: Lon Kruger to announce retirement after 10 seasons with Sooners

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Lon Kruger leaves the OU men’s basketball program in better shape than he found it in.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - West Regional - Oklahoma v Oregon Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

On Thursday, Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball head coach Lon Kruger is expected to announce his retirement after 10 seasons at OU. The news has been confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein and Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

With a coaching record of 195-128 (.604) since he was originally hired at Oklahoma in 2012, Kruger finishes his Sooner tenure with the fourth-most wins in program history. For his career, the future Hall of Famer’s lifetime coaching record now rests at an impressive 674 wins to 432 losses (.609).

To date, Kruger is the only coach in Division I history to win an NCAA Tournament game with five different schools (Kansas State Wildcats, Florida Gators, Illinois Fighting Illini, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and Oklahoma). In total, his teams have made postseason appearances in 24 of the last 31 years, including 20 NCAA Tournaments, five Sweet 16s and two Final Fours.

For a period, Kruger took on the challenge of coaching in the NBA, but after a three year run as head coach for the Atlanta Hawks (2000-03) and a single season stint as an assistant for the New York Knicks (2003-04), he returned to college hoops where his strengths as a teacher could have the greatest impact.

While Kruger has put together some outstanding teams in his day, he’s also enjoyed coaching up some especially prominent pupils. At Oklahoma, that includes lottery picks Buddy Hield (sixth overall in 2016 NBA Draft) and Trae Young (5th overall in 2018). Both former Sooners are currently still active in the NBA today with the Sacramento Kings and Hawks, respectively.

A native of Silver Lake, Kansas, Lonnie Duane Kruger quickly became a star on the court for K-State. After claiming the title of Big Eight Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons (1973-74), the former point guard soon took on the coaching trade. In 1982, he was hired by Texas-Pan American — now Texas-Rio Grande Valley — for his first gig as a head coach. Fast-forward to the present, and Kruger’s has truly been one of the most successful careers in the sport over the last four decades.

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