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OU basketball: Head coach Lon Kruger to retire after 10 seasons with Sooners

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Lon Kruger

OU Head Coach Lon Kruger yells during the season finale against No. 15 Texas on March 4.

OU men's basketball head coach Lon Kruger is retiring after 10 seasons coaching the Sooners, the program confirmed Thursday afternoon.

CBS Sports' John Rothstein initially reported Kruger would retire, with The Oklahoman's Ryan Aber and the Tulsa World's Eric Bailey confirming the decision. Kruger just completed his 35th year of head coaching after coming to OU in 2011.  

"It's been an honor to serve the University of Oklahoma as its head men's basketball coach over the last 10 years," Kruger said in a Thursday press release. "The people here are certainly amazing and our family is so grateful for the kindness and support expressed by Sooner Nation throughout the past decade.

"The leadership of Joe Castiglione and President Harroz has established an incredible culture and standard that is better than any coach could have asked for. We have such a deep appreciation for the players, coaches and fans. There truly is 'Only One Oklahoma' and it's a great honor to be a Sooner for life."

Kruger, 68, played point guard at Kansas State from 1971-74 and began coaching in 1976 at Pittsburgh State before stops at Texas Rio Grande Valley, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and Nevada-Las Vegas on his way to Oklahoma. He holds a 674-432 head coaching record and went 195-128 at OU.

Kruger coached the Sooners to seven NCAA Tournament appearances including the 2015-'16 Final Four during his time in Norman. He became the first Division I coach to take five different teams to the NCAA Tournament and the only coach to win a tournament game with five different squads.

Under Kruger's leadership, the Sooners finished the 2020-'21 season with a 16-11 record and were a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kruger's squad defeated No. 9 seed Missouri in the first round before falling to No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the second round.

A press conference to discuss Kruger's decision is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. CT on Friday.

Sports Editor

Mason Young is a journalism sophomore. He's the Daily's sports editor and covers OU football. He was previously assistant sports editor and has worked as a reporter covering OU women's gym, OU wrestling and former Sooners in the NFL.

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