Lon Kruger, Sherri Coale
(Mike Allen)

So Lon Kruger is out as head coach of the OU men’s basketball team. His retirement comes on the heels of OU women’s basketball head coach Sherri Coale announcing her retirement earlier this month.

There are two great careers to talk about here, but I feel like people locally aren’t hearing much about them. Yes, there have been statements released by many people, and of course there were a couple of days of sports talk radio that brushed on the subject, but the vibe generally seems to be one of underrating what the job both these coaches did in their time with the university.

Coale was coach of the women’s team for 25 years with a solid record to show for it. She had a particularly good stretch in the 2000’s, going to the National Championship game in 2002 and winning the Big 12 conference six times during the decade. This era put OU women’s basketball on the map, although Coale’s program faded in recent years, and she apologized in 2020 for former players’ statements that her program was racially insensitive.

Kruger was already a well-known coach when he was hired in 2011, having coached four other teams to the NCAA tournament in his career. His success at Oklahoma peaked in 2016 when he took the men’s team to the Final Four, losing to eventual champ Villanova.

Both did a fantastic job of putting Oklahoma’s basketball programs in the national spotlight at what is considered by many to be a “football” school, which is no small feat. Despite the punchline in the comic, I have no doubt that people within the university’s athletic department have a lot of respect for both coaches, and I hope the fans do, too. Here’s to a well-earned rest after a couple of long and great careers.

Past Sundaze comics

Keanu Reeves in OKC? Excellent!
New depths of boredom after a year with COVID
Demolishing OU housing towers should be a breeze
Happy tastes good: Oklahoma wants to be Texas?
Rolling blackouts: Storm saga so confusing
You’re on your own: It’s too cold for Cupid this year
COVID vaccine: Never doubt what nobody is sure about
Oklahoma Legislature: A mask for thee, but not for me
Quite the quandary: Q followers feel let down
Pop quiz: What is jeopardizing the state of Oklahoma?
Imagine the day-to-day life of the Q Shaman
The year that was: 2020 blew up the bathroom
All we want for Christmas is more COVID-19 vaccine
The coronavirus turns into a pumpkin at 11 p.m.
Day of fasting a brief end for endless breadsticks?
Farewell Steven Adams, OKC’s second Mr. Thunder
Thanksgiving 2020 should be all about perspective
Mixed messaging on masks still makes no sense
Power problems lead to weird rituals after 2020 storm
Halloween 2020 more of a trick than a treat?
No ICU beds: The spooky movie of the season
Students surely making most of extra screen time
Epic fail? Audit yields more questions on public money
Rough Saturday for Sooners fans
Budget blockbusters from the Cox Convention Center?