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Former UF coach Lon Kruger to retire

Coach who led Gators to 1994 Final Four hangs up the whistle at age 68
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against...
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)(Eric Gay | AP)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger announced his retirement on Thursday, culminating a 35-year career that included taking five different schools to the NCAA Tournament — with two of them reaching the Final Four — and more than 650 career wins.

Kruger, 68, led Florida to the national semifinals for the first time in program history in 1994 and Oklahoma to the same spot in 2016. He is the only coach to lead five different schools to NCAA Tournament wins -- Oklahoma, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV.

His 674-432 career record ranks 10th among active coaches in wins and 27th all time.

He led the Sooners to a 195-128 record in 10 years and reached seven of the past eight NCAA tournaments. In his final season at Oklahoma, the Sooners went 16-11 and ended with a loss to top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round on Monday.

Along the way, he built a reputation for fixing struggling programs.

“His track record of successfully rebuilding programs everywhere he coached is made even more impressive when considering how he did it,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “He won with integrity, humility, class and grace. He did it with superior leadership skills and a genuine kindness that included his constant encouragement of everyone around him.”

Kruger also spent four years coaching in the NBA -- three as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and one as a New York Knicks assistant.

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