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Lon Kruger was heavily involved in Las Vegas community

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Modified: July 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm •  Published: July 15, 2011

/articleid/3586014/1/pictures/1465756">Photo - UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS / REACTION: UNLV head coach Lon Kruger and his team react during a break in action against Illinois in the second half of a Southwest Regional NCAA tournament second round college basketball game, Friday, March 18, 2011 in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)  ORG XMIT: OKKJ178 <strong>Charlie Riedel - AP</strong>
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS / REACTION: UNLV head coach Lon Kruger and his team react during a break in action against Illinois in the second half of a Southwest Regional NCAA tournament second round college basketball game, Friday, March 18, 2011 in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) ORG XMIT: OKKJ178 Charlie Riedel - AP

Long-time UNLV booster Wade Leavitt, who has followed the program for 40 years, said Kruger invested countless hours in the community and also helped raise money towards a $12 million practice facility that's nearing completion.

“You go to a women's volleyball game or soccer game and generally he and Barb were there,” Leavitt said. “He did so much in the community. He'd go anywhere they asked him to go. Sometimes I think they maybe asked too much of him time-wise.”

Jon Sadler, UNLV's radio play-by-play voice the past eight years, said he introduces Kruger at the post-season basketball banquet, telling the same story.

“I say, ‘I tried to find someone to say something bad about coach Kruger. It's another year I came up empty,'“ Sadler said. “You won't ever find a nicer guy or a guy with more integrity.”

Several coaches and athletes assist community projects but Phillips said Kruger is rare.

“There wasn't one person I met that didn't say, ‘What a wonderful human being, what a down-to-earth human being,'“ Phillips said. “It's so refreshing to see someone in his position reach out to so many people and try to help. We're really going to miss him.”


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