Lon Kruger is one of finest coaches to ever lead a team in Las Vegas, compiling a 161-71 (.694) record in his seven years at UNLV. During that stint, he coached the Runnin’ Rebels to the NCAA Tournament four of his last five seasons after the program appeared in only two of the previous 15 tournaments. Over his final five seasons in Las Vegas, Kruger’s teams posted a .743 winning percentage (127-44) and averaged 25.4 victories. His 2006-07 squad won 30 games and advanced to the Sweet 16.
When Kruger retired he had amassed 674 career wins which landed him at the time at No. 27 on the all-time wins list. Just as impressively, he is the only coach to win NCAA Tournament games with five different programs (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma).
Throughout his career, his teams made the NCAA Tournament 20 times and he led four teams to the Sweet 16. Kruger’s teams reached the Final Four in 1994 with Florida and in 2016 with Oklahoma.
As hard as Kruger worked to achieve excellence on the hardwood, he is just as committed to his role as a community leader in the fight against cancer. He continues to serve as council chair of Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide program partnering with the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Kruger has been a member of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council since 2007 and has been a longtime supporter of the American Cancer Society.
Kruger’s accolades both on and off the court have earned him multiple recognitions. In 2017, Kruger was honored with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Metropolitan Award for long and outstanding service to men’s college basketball. In addition, before the start of the 2018-19 campaign, the John R. Wooden Award selected him as the 2019 recipient of its Legends of Coaching Award.
Kruger capped his illustrious 40-year coaching career by being named to the Class of 2022 for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Born: August 19, 1952
Claim to Fame: Kruger is the only coach to win NCAA Tournament games with five different programs (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma).