Kruger Named Chair of Coaches vs. Cancer
NORMAN – Oklahoma head men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger has been named council chair of Coaches vs. Cancer. Kruger assumes the position from outgoing chair Phil Martelli of Saint Joseph’s, who served as the chair for the past decade.
Now in its 25th year, the Coaches vs. Cancer program is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). The initiative leverages the personal experiences, community leadership and professional excellence of coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities and advocacy programs. Since 1993, coaches have raised over $100 million for the American Cancer Society.
“Coaches vs. Cancer has done phenomenal work in conjunction with the American Cancer Society over the past 25 years and we’re excited to do our part in continuing its mission,” said Kruger. “Through this organization, college coaches have used their platform to raise dollars and awareness to combat this terrible disease. The fight against cancer takes a team effort and we're honored to work with so many great coaches, ACS staff and volunteers as we all fight for a world without cancer.”
Formed in 1998, the Coaches vs. Cancer Council includes many of the best-known and most successful men’s basketball coaches nationwide. Over the years, the council has helped guide, enhance, and expand the program. Kruger is joined on the 34-member council by a prestigious group of coaches, media personalities and executives that includes the likes of Jay Bilas, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith, Norm Stewart and Roy Williams.
Kruger has been a member of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council since 2007 and has been a longtime supporter of the American Cancer Society. As founder and chairman of the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic, Kruger’s leadership has helped the event raise over $3.5 million over the last 11 years.
In 2017, Kruger was a recipient of the American Cancer Society’s prestigious St. George National Award for his extraordinary service to the community in support of the Society’s mission to save lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer. Kruger was also recognized in 2012 with the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award and in 2009 with the Legacy and Leadership Visionary Award from the ACS Las Vegas region.
While he has already done so much for the Coaches vs. Cancer and American Cancer Society, Kruger is anxious to do even more to unite basketball coaches and fans to defeat the common enemy of cancer. In 1998, Kruger's father, Don, passed away after losing a battle with skin cancer.
Kruger is entering his eighth season as the Sooners' head coach and 33rd season of coaching college basketball. He is the first Division I coach to take five different schools to the NCAA Tournament and the only coach to win an NCAA Tournament game with five different programs. In 2015 he became the first coach since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 to take four programs to the Sweet 16 or beyond. He has reached the Final Four in 1994 (Florida) and 2016 (Oklahoma) and owns the 10th-most victories (619) among active Division I head coaches.