The respect for former Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger was evident on social media after the formal announcement of his retirement from college basketball on Friday.
Kruger called it a career on Thursday and held a press conference with OU officials on Friday. The former two-time All-Big Eight Conference Player of the Year at Kansas State had a coaching career that spanned five decades at the University of Texas–Pan American, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV, and Oklahoma, as well as a sojourn into the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks.
Kruger leaves the game with 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, two Final Four appearances (one with Florida and one with Oklahoma), 674 career college victories, and the distinction of being one of just three head coaches in NCAA history to take five different programs to the NCAA Tournament (Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith being the others).
READ MORE: Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger To Retire
His career with Oklahoma ended after 10 seasons with 195 wins, eight NCAA Tournament appearances, and that 2016 Final Four appearances, with Buddy Hield leading the way for the Sooners. He did not lead the Sooners to a Big 12 title, but along with Hield, he coached other future NBA stars like Trae Young. The Sooners’ best Big 12 finish came in 2014-15 when they finished tied for second in the conference.
Kruger’s last season at the helm ended with a 16-11 record and a second-round NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga.
Current players, former players, coaching colleagues, fans and coaching organizations took to Twitter and other social platforms after the announcement to pay their respects to the Silver Lake, Kansas, native.
From Oklahoma State:
From Baylor head coach Scott Drew:
From Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard:
From former Sooners guard Trae Young:
From his alma mater and former employer, Kansas State:
From the director of communications at OU:
From former coaching colleague and ESPN’s Seth Greenberg:
From the National Association of Basketball Coaches:
From his former assistant coach, current Southern Utah coach Todd Simon:
From his first employer, UT-Rio Grande Valley:
From former UNLV player Curtis Terry:
From Illinois basketball:
From Kansas head coach Bill Self:
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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