NORMAN — OU men’s basketball graduate assistant Kevin Kruger has always had a passion for sports and animals.
Those two things have come together in the company Stadium Cribs.
The company makes NCAA-licensed pet beds designed to look like college sporting venues, ranging from the company’s top seller, University of Kansas’ basketball arena to Boston University’s hockey arena.
For Sooner fans, there’s a crimson dog bed that looks like the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, as well as a bed patterned after Lloyd Noble Center for hoops fans. For Cowboys fans, Stadium Cribs makes an orange pet bed that looks like Oklahoma State University’s Boone Pickens Stadium.
The son of OU men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger, Kevin Kruger had an interesting career in basketball that has taken him around the globe. In college, he played at Arizona State University, as well as at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas when the team (coached by his father) made its first Sweet 16 appearance in 15 years. After college, he played for the Utah Jazz’s development league team, the Utah Flash, as well as for professional basketball teams in Mexico, Bulgaria, Belgium and Italy.
Kruger has spent the past year working as a graduate assistant for the OU men’s basketball team.
Stadium Cribs was founded in 2011 by Kruger and childhood friend Lyle Richardson, who lives in Atlanta. The idea began with making collegiate-themed baby bedding, but quickly evolved into pet beds.
“We’re both sports fanatics,” Kevin Kruger said. “We started with baby bedding, but it’s a lot more complicated due to product safety issues and things like that.”
Pet beds were easier to make and not subject to differing state laws regulating baby bedding products.
Fits big, small pets
Kruger and Richardson sell the beds on their website, www.stadiumcribs.com.
The Stadium Cribs beds come in three sizes to accommodate pets large and small. The largest is big enough for the Kruger family’s 125-pound Great Dane, Pepper, to curl up comfortably, Kruger said.
Shelters to benefit
A portion of the proceeds from each sale will go to local animal shelters, Friends of Animals of Norman and Second Chance Animal Sanctuary. Kruger hopes to eventually partner with animal shelters in each college town. With that in place, a Crimson Tide fan’s purchase of an Alabama football-themed pet bed would result in a donation to an animal shelter in Tuscaloosa, he said.
Kruger and Richardson have worked with graphic artists and done extensive research to make details of the sporting venues depicted on the beds as close to the real thing as possible.
“You can go and pick out your seats — they’re pretty accurate, down to the number of columns,” Kruger said.
Stadium Cribs knows the beds have to look accurate, because of how serious college sports fans are about their school, Richardson said.
“We’re really insane about it. We’re very meticulous about it, mainly because the integrity of the product really matters to us,” Richardson said. “And it really matters to people how many people fit in their stadium.”