Lon Kruger, former OU Sooners coach, named to National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

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NORMAN — Former OU men's basketball head coach Lon Kruger was named to the 2022 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday.

Kruger is OU's first coach to be inducted into the hall. He will join the late Wayman Tisdale, a former OU player who was inducted in 2009.

"Very honored to join those who have already been inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame," Kruger said in a statement. "Any time a coach receives the honor, it is a result of the people that surround him. From players, staff and coaches and so many people through the years, it has always been about the relationships."

Kruger was hired as OU's head coach on April 1, 2011, and he held that position until he retired on March 25, 2021. He recorded a 195-128 (.604) record during that 10-year span.

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Lon Kruger went 195-128 in 10 seasons as OU men's basketball coach. He went 674-432 in his 35-year career, taking five schools to the NCAA Tournament.
Lon Kruger went 195-128 in 10 seasons as OU men's basketball coach. He went 674-432 in his 35-year career, taking five schools to the NCAA Tournament.

Kruger led the Sooners to seven NCAA Tournaments, two Sweet 16s and a 2016 Final Four run. His impact wasn't just measured by postseason success, though.

OU produced four NBA Draft selections, six All-Big 12 first-team selections and 32 Academic All-Big 12 honors while Kruger was at the helm.

"What a tremendous and incredibly well-deserved honor for Lon," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said. "He was a quintessential coach and a wonderful leader of countless young men everywhere he's been. We are all beneficiaries of his dedication to the game of basketball.

"At OU, we are especially grateful for his significant impact on our program during his 10 years here. He truly led by example, using his passion for the game and his role as a teacher or coach to help his players grow in ways that extend beyond the basketball court."

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Kruger recorded a 674-432 (.609) record in his 35-year head coaching career. He ranked 27th in all-time Division I wins at the time of his retirement.

Kruger had numerous head coaching jobs before his arrival in Norman. He led Texas Pan-American (1982-86), Kansas State (1986-90), Florida (1990-96), Illinois (1996-2000), the Atlanta Hawks (2000-03) and UNLV (2004-11).

"Everyone who has been a part of this journey should feel some ownership in it," Kruger said. "All of the terrific people that we have worked with in 47 years of coaching helped make the journey remarkable. Every stop that we have made, there were good people who were unbelievably helpful and supportive."

Kruger's class features former players Richard Hamilton (UConn), Larry Miller (North Carolina), Frank Selvy (Furman), Jimmy Walker (Providence). It also includes fellow coaches John Beilein and Jerry Krause.

Justin Martinez can be reached at jmartinez@oklahoman.com or @JTheSportsDude on Twitter. Make sure to subscribe to The Oklahoman to stay up to date with all local sports.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Lon Kruger named to National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame