Regents Approve Kruger's Contract

NORMAN, Okla. -- After meeting for more than a half hour Thursday, The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved new head basketball coach Lon Kruger's contract, which will effectively pay him $16.6 million over seven years.

In addition to a $250,000 base pay, if he signs the new contract, as well as a $1.45 million annual payment for personal services and fundraising, there are a number of incentives.

Kruger will receive an automatic $100,000 raise each year as well as a $300,000 bonus effective each May after completing another full season at OU and a $500,000 bonus if he remains at OU for at least five seasons through June 2016.

He'll earn a $175,000 bonus for winning the national championship, as well as 20 hours of private airplane usage as part of performance incentives.

And there's one other detail: OU Regents will pay the $500,000 buyout on Kruger's contract at UNLV.

All of this, athletic director Joe Castiglione said, is justifiable by Kruger's track record of bringing programs back onto the map.

"He may be the consummate turnaround specialist in college basketball history," Castiglione said. "[It's] hard to argue with a record of achievement in every place he's been and served as head coach in college basketball."

Indeed, he's taken four schools (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV) to the NCAA Tournament, including a Final Four run with the Florida Gators back in 1994.

He guided three of those four to the postseason in his first season.

Ironically, the only one of those that took until his second year was Florida, where he preceded to make the postseason for four straight years after that.

At his five previous stops?the other unmentioned one was a four-year stint at Texas Pan-American?he's compiled a 479-304 career record.

So, not only does he have a great track record of turning programs around, but he keeps them good with consistency.

And that's exactly what Castiglione and President David L. Boren are counting on.

Regents also approved the contracts Thursday for Kruger's assistants, Steve Henson, Lew Hill and Chris Crutchfield, who will each earn $200,000 next year.

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