After all the rumors, the Sooner have finally decided on a new head coach for the men’s basketball team. Lon Kruger is leaving the head coaching position at UNLV and brings with him a pretty impressive resume which includes 13 NCAA tournaments, 3 Sweet 16 appearances, 2 Elite Eights, and a Final Four.
Oklahoma is not unfamiliar territory for Coach Kruger, who played at Kansas State and then later coached there as well. During a press conference yesterday, Coach Kruger had some high praise for his new employers.
“This is an exciting day,” he said. “I have appreciated the Oklahoma program for many years and always felt it had all of the components necessary to compete at the highest national level.”At this point, its greatest resource is leadership. President Boren and Joe Castiglione are recognized nationally for the growth and expansion of the university and athletics program. No matter where you look on this campus, you see talented people. It’s the kind of environment that breeds success. I look forward to being part of it and to embracing the former players and coaches. We will be very aggressive in reaching out to them.”
Coach Kruger comes at a time when Oklahoma basketball is in definite need of a resurgence. The Sooners fired Coach Jeff Capel on March 14 after 5 seasons as head coach. One of the reasons was for missing the NCAA tournament for 2 consecutive years. The only winning season Coach Capel really had with the Sooners was with the now NBA phenom Blake Griffin.
Athletic Director Joe Castiglione says the repeated attempts to lure Kruger to Norman finally paid off.
â€œLon has great respect for his players, the leadership and the fans at UNLV,â€ Castiglione said. â€œHe had a good situation there and was happy. We were persistent in presenting a position that might hold some appeal for him.â€
So from all of us in Sooner Nation, a big Welcome to Coach Kruger and his family! Boomer Sooner!