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Silver Lake legend Lon Kruger happy to be home for KSHSAA Coaching School

Rick Peterson

 By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Basketball has taken Lon Kruger all over the world, but Silver Lake and the Topeka area will always be home.

FZGp7UBWQAENZiRHall of Fame basketball coach Lon Kruger returned to his local roots Monday, giving the keynote address to open the KSHSAA Coaching School. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

On Monday the member of the 2022 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class returned to his roots, serving as keynote speaker to open the 88th annual Kansas State High School Activities Association Coaching School at the Hotel Topeka at City Center.

"I appreciate the opportunity to come back home,'' said Kruger, who retired in 2021 at Oklahoma after 45 seasons in coaching. "Obviously I grew up in Silver Lake and the Topeka area and spent the first 18 years of my life here, so when Fran (Martin of the KSHSAA) called last fall to invite me to come back, I quickly said yes because any excuse I have to get back in this area I always look forward to it.

"Driving in last night I saw Stormont Vail on the building next door and I was born just down the road here in Stormont Vail Hospital in 1952.''

The former star point guard at Silver Lake and Kansas State had college coaching stints at Texas Pan-American, K-State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma and Kruger was the first coach to lead five schools to NCAA Tournament wins, finishing with an overall record of 674-432.

And Kruger, who also had a stint in the NBA as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, is quick to credit his upbringing for starting him on the path to success.

 "It was the best of all circumstances,'' Kruger said. "It was the best environment. I didn't fully realize it at the time, but when I look back I could not imagine a better, more idyllic situation growing up. I had a family that was all about family, parents that were all about their kids, a community that was huge in athletics at Silver Lake. Mom and dad were all about other people and doing things for others and relationships so I think that gave me the foundation, the core that I've really tried to take advantage of throughout life.''

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