NORMAN — Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger, who led the Sooners to the 2016 Final Four, will retire from coaching, sources have confirmed to The Norman Transcript.
Kruger met with his players Thursday to inform them of his decision.
Kruger first arrived at OU in 2011 and compiled a 194-128 record over 10 seasons. His teams made the NCAA Tournament all but two seasons during his tenure, which doesn’t include the 2020 tourney’s cancellation.
Kruger was named the 2014 Big 12 Coach of the Year for his team that finished second in the conference and went 23-10. Kruger, 68, is one of only three Division 1 coaches to lead five programs to the NCAA Tournament, along with Tubby Smith and Rick Pitino. Kruger guided Oklahoma State, UNLV, Illinois, Florida and Kansas State to the Big Dance, reaching the Final Four with Oklahoma in 2016 and with Florida in 1994.
For his career, he went 673-432 (.609). Kruger told Jeff Goodman of Stadium that his plan in retirement is to move back to Las Vegas be around his son, Kevin, who was hired this week to take over the Runnin’ Rebels program.
Podcaster Colby Daniels was first to report the news. SInce then, it has been reported by multiple media outlets.
The Sooners lost to overall No. 1 seed Gonzaga, 87-71, in the second round on Monday.
Kruger is expected to make the official announcement at a press conference today.
“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,” said Eric Bossi, National Basketball Director at 247Sports via his Twitter account.
“I thought Lon Kruger leaned into everything that Oklahoma basketball was, put his own stamp on it, and elevated the program. So did Sherri Coale. Now (OU Athletic Director) Joe Castiglione must conduct simultaneous head coaching searches to replace both. He has a Herculean task ahead of him,” said John Hoover, former Ada News Sports Editor and current publisher at Sports Illustrated: Sooners via social media.
Editor’s Note: Ada News Sports Editor Jeff Cali contributed to this report.