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Oklahoma men's basketball: Sooners coach Lon Kruger one victory shy of 500

OU will try and get their coach career No. 500 Friday against Northwestern State at the Lloyd Noble Center
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Staff Writer skuzydym@opubco.com Published: November 29, 2012

photo - UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA / UCO / COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger shakes hands with his leading scorer Buddy Hield as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners men's basketball team defeats  the Central Oklahoma Bronchos 94-66 at McCasland Field House on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012  in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA / UCO / COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger shakes hands with his leading scorer Buddy Hield as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners men's basketball team defeats the Central Oklahoma Bronchos 94-66 at McCasland Field House on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

NORMAN — When Lon Kruger got his first career win as a men's head basketball coach, in 1982 over Air Force, Oklahoma's current senior forward Romero Osby was eight years from being born.

Osby started laughing with junior Tyler Neal when the two realized just how long their coach really has been at the helm of college basketball programs.

That first win is so long ago that Kruger, now at Oklahoma, said he doesn't remember a thing about it.

“I wish I could,” Kruger said. “That was a long time ago.”

Kruger does remember his first loss, though. That came at the hands of The Mailman, when Kruger's Texas-Pan American team lost to future NBA great Karl Malone and Louisiana Tech. In his opening season, Kruger's first team went 7-21. His teams have hit double-digits in the win column ever since.

On Friday, Kruger and his Sooners have a chance for win No. 500, when Oklahoma plays Northwestern State (La.) at the Lloyd Noble Center.

There aren't many of those 499 victories that Kruger can talk about individually.

The second-year OU coach did say if he sat down and thought about it, he could probably make a top 5 list of his best victories.

“Obviously when you think about it, the wins to go to the Final Four are going to be nice,” Kruger said. “A lot of the NCAA Tournament wins are always nice to go to the Elite Eight or that second weekend, but I couldn't tell you exactly what they are.”

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