At 45 long years of collegiate basketball coaching, legendary head coach Lon Kruger has officially announced his retirement.
Kruger, 68, has led the Oklahoma Sooners’ basketball program for the last 10 years, logging a 195-128 record, seven NCAA Tournament appearances and a 2016 Final Four trip. Before taking the OU job in 2011, the veteran coach served stints with UNLV, Illinois, Florida, Kansas State and Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
In his final head coaching season, Kruger lead the Sooners to a 16-11 overall record. After defeating the No. 9 seed Missouri Tigers in the first round of this year’s tournament, his squad fell to the No. 1 overall seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs in the round of 32.
The day after Kruger announced his retirement decision, another legendary Sooners coach chimed in to congratulate him on a fantastic career.
On Friday afternoon, former Oklahoma football head coach Bob Stoops took to Twitter to share his message to Kruger.
“Congratulations to coach Lon Kruger on his retirement after coaching men’s basketball for over four decades,” Stoops said in a video. “Bringing four different schools to the Sweet 16 and beyond, the first coach to bring five different schools to the NCAA Tournament — and bringing OU to the Final Four in 2016.
“But more than anything coach Kruger we appreciate the competitiveness that you won with, along with the humility and class that you did.”
— Bob Stoops (@CoachBobStoops) March 26, 2021
Serving as the Sooners’ head football coach from 1999-2016, Stoops had plenty of overlap with the legendary basketball coach. Over those years, it appears the two coaches got pretty tight on a personal level.
Stoops concluded his message with a funny warning to anyone planning on competing with Kruger in post-coaching life.
“Everybody out there understand this,” Stoops said. “This guy is a four or five handicap golfer right now… but you better watch the games you get in with him soon, because he’s going to be scratch.”
Retiring from collegiate coaching himself in 2016, Stoops, 60, knows the post-coaching life well. During his time off, the Sooners legend has partnered with Oklahoma-based company “Rock and Roll Tequila.”
In 2020, he attempted to make a coaching comeback — taking a head coaching job with the XFL Dallas Renegades in 2020. Due to COVID-19, the season and league itself were cancelled — once again ending his head coaching career.
After a few current coaches were forced to self-isolate this past season, Stoops stepped up as a volunteer consultant for this year’s OU squad.