Runnin Rebs name Kruger hoops coach
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – Lon Kruger has been named the new head
men’s basketball coach at UNLV on Monday, the announcement was made by
Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick.
Kruger will be the 10th full-time head coach in Runnin’ Rebel history. He will
take over the head coaching duties as soon as UNLV finishes postseason play.
The Runnin’ Rebels will play Boise State on Wednesday in the first round of
the NIT. UNLV finished the regular season with a 18-12 record, having lost to
Utah, 73-70, in the championship game of the Mountain West Conference
tournament on Saturday.
“Lon meets all of the criteria that we set for our head coaching job, “Hamrick
said. “He is a successful collegiate head coach who has taken three different
programs to the NCAA Tournament and also knows how to get to the Final Four.
He is a man of integrity and is one of the most well respected coaches in the
Kruger, will replace Charlie Spoonhour, who stepped down mid-Febuary citing
health concerns, thus ending his three-year tenure at the school. Spoonhour’s
assistant coach and son, Jay, is serving as the program’s interim coach.
The Runnin Rebels are 18-12 and were defeated by Utah, 73-70, in the Mountain
West Conference tournament championship game on Saturday.
Spoonhour compiled a 54-31 record in his three years at UNLV, including
identical 21-11 marks in his first two seasons. He had previously coached at
Southwest Missouri State from 1983-92 and Saint Louis from 1992-99.
Kruger is no stranger to the college ranks. He was a head coach for 18
seasons at Pan American, Kansas State, Florida and Illinois. During his
six-year stint with the Gators, Kruger transformed Florida from a program that
was not competitive in the SEC race to a team that turned into a contender,
posting a single-season record 29 wins.
He guided the Gators to postseason play four times, including a final four
berth in 1994. Kruger led teams have made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament
and has had seven seasons of winning 20 or more contests. Kruger
complied an impressive 318-233 overall mark in college.
The 51-year old was last coaching in the NBA as an assistant with the New York
Knicks. He posted a 69-122 mark as head man of the Atlanta Hawks before being
fired during the 2002-03 campaign.