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Basketball Coaches with Kansas Connections Head to the Hall of Fame

(Photo of Roy Williams courtesy of KU Athletics. Photo of Lon Kruger courtesy of Kansas State Athletics)
(Photo of Roy Williams courtesy of KU Athletics. Photo of Lon Kruger courtesy of Kansas State Athletics)

Roy Williams and Lon Kruger, two former basketball coaches with Kansas ties, are in the Class of 2022 for this weekend’s National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. Greg Echlin reports.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KPR) – Nine college basketball icons who collectively impacted the sport as players, coaches and contributors have been selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2022. The Class of 2022 will be enshrined on November 20 in Kansas City as part of National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Weekend, which also features the annual Hall of Fame Classic tournament. Making up the Class of 2022 are coaches Roy Williams, Lon Kruger, Jim Calhoun, John Beilein and Jerry Krause.

Roy Williams is one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of the sport. Originally a high school coach, Williams got his first head college job at Kansas in 1988, where he won 418 games in 15 seasons. He returned to his alma mater North Carolina in 2003, and over 18 seasons led the Tar Heels to 485 victories – making him the only coach in college basketball history to win 400 games at two schools. Williams’ UNC teams captured national championships in 2005, 2009 and 2017, and he led Kansas and Carolina to a combined nine Final Fours. He earned nine national Coach of the Year honors and nine conference Coach of the Year awards prior to retiring in 2021, and his 903 career wins are the third-most in history by a Division I coach.

Lon Kruger holds the distinction of being the first Division I coach to lead five different programs to the NCAA Tournament. From 1982 until his retirement in 2021, Kruger amassed 674 wins, ranking among the top 40 in Division I history. He made 20 total NCAA Tournament appearances at Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma after starting his college career at what is now UTRGV. He made two Final Fours – in 1994 with Florida and in 2016 with Oklahoma – and was a four-time conference Coach of the Year. Kruger also held NBA head and assistant coaching jobs with the Hawks and Knicks, and continues to serve the sport through his role as chair of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council.

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Greg Echlin is the sports reporter for KPR and KCUR. Ever since he set foot on the baseball diamond at Fernwood Park on Chicago's South Side, Greg Echlin began a love affair with the world of sports. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, he worked as a TV sports anchor and a radio sportscaster in Salina, Kansas. He moved to Kansas City in 1984 and has been there since covering sports. Through the years, he has covered multiple Super Bowls, Final Fours and Major League Baseball's World Series and All-Star games. With his high metabolism rate, Greg is able to enjoy a good meal and stay slim when he's not running around on the sports scene. He loves desserts, even making them. Cheesecakes, pies and parfaits are the most common around the Echlin household.