Lon Kruger of Oklahoma Named 2019 John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Recipient
LOS ANGELES, CA (October 9, 2018) – Lon Kruger, University of Oklahoma Men’s Basketball Coach, will receive the John R. Wooden Award®’s “Legends of Coaching™” honor in 2019. Coach Wooden’s daughter Nan Wooden was proud to announce his selection at the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s annual Wooden Award Tip-Off Luncheon. The luncheon features the head coaches from the Division I men’s basketball programs in Southern California. The “Legends of Coaching” honor recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standard of coaching success and personal integrity.
The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Steering Committee in 1999. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rate of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. Coach Kruger will be recognized during the Wooden Award Weekend April 11-13, 2019, as a part of the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s celebration of the greatest players and coaches in men’s and women’s college basketball. He will be awarded the honor during the 5th Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards on April 12, 2019.
Coach Kruger has 32 years of head coaching experience, including seven years as the head coach of the University of Oklahoma. He is the first Division I coach to take five different schools to the NCAA Tournament and the first to take four different programs to Sweet 16 or beyond. Kruger is the 33rd head coach to win 600 Division I games and currently ranks tenth among active coaches. His collegiate teams have made postseason appearances in 22 of the last 29 years, including 17 NCAA Tournaments, five Sweet 16s, and two Final Fours. Coach Kruger has coached two Wooden Award All Americans: Buddy Hield, who won the Wooden Award in 2016; and Trae Young in 2018.
While at Florida, Coach Kruger and his wife, Barbara, were honored with consecutive Community Service Awards from the Gainesville Community Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, and in 1995 he was named the Gainesville (Fla.) Volunteer of the Year. From 1991-93, the couple served as co-chairpersons of Alachua County’s Red Ribbon Campaign, a week-long program aimed at increasing awareness and promoting a drug-free environment for the community. Kruger was instrumental in starting the Coaches vs. Cancer’s Las Vegas Classic, which has raised nearly $500,000 to benefit research, education and treatment programs for the Nevada Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. In 2018, he was named the council chair of Coaches vs. Cancer.
John R. Wooden Award
Legends of Coaching Honorees
2019 Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
2018 Jay Wright, Villanova
2017 Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame
2016 Tubby Smith, Texas Tech
2015 Steve Fisher, San Diego State
2014 Tara VanDerveer, Stanford
2013 Bill Self, Kansas
2012 Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
2011 Tom Izzo, Michigan State
2010 Billy Donovan, Florida
2009 Rick Barnes, Texas
2008 Pat Summitt, Tennessee
2007 Gene Keady, Purdue
2006 Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
2005 Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
2004 Mike Montgomery, Stanford
2003 Roy Williams, Kansas
2002 Denny Crum, Louisville
2001 Lute Olson, Arizona
2000 Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
1999 Dean Smith, North Carolina
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress towards graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), and last year’s recipients, A’ja Wilson of South Carolina and Jalen Brunson of Villanova.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to the universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the Wooden Award All-American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament brings together Special Olympics athletes and Wooden Award All-Americans and coaches in attendance. It is hosted at the Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award Weekend.
The Legends of Coaching Award will be presented during the 5th Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s, which will take place on Friday, April 12, 2019. For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, please go to www.woodenaward.com and follow the Wooden Award on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodenaward and @WoodenAward on Twitter and Instagram.
John R Wooden Award