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Kevin Kruger named new UNLV basketball head coach

The Runnin’ Rebels have hired a name many people in the Vegas Valley are very familiar with.

Photo Courtesy of UNLV Athletics

The search did not take long and Desiree Reed Francois did not have to look far to find her new head coach.

Late Sunday afternoon, UNLV officially announced that former Runnin’ Rebel and assistant coach Kevin Kruger would be UNLV’s new head coach. The news was first reported by Jeff Borzello of ESPN.

“I couldn’t be happier and am so thankful...for this incredible opportunity,” Kruger said in a statement. “I have proudly represented the UNLV men’s basketball program and to now have been chosen to lead it, I really am speechless. This is home for me and my family and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the guys on our team. We will get after it and build on the foundation that has been set.”

Kruger, 37, spent the last two seasons with the Runnin’ Rebels as an assistant for T.J. Otzelberger, who left for Iowa State earlier in the week. Kruger was also the point guard for the 2007 Runnin’ Rebel team that went to the Sweet 16 who was coached by his father Lon.

“As we methodically went through the interview process speaking to many strong candidates, Kevin impressed us with his vision, the depth and sophistication of his plan, and his enthusiasm,” Reed-Francois said in a statement.

“He cares about student-athletes and helping them achieve their hopes and dreams. He has demonstrated integrity and consistent leadership, and his love for UNLV and our Las Vegas community is without question. He is a Rebel, has helped the program develop a strong foundation and has been preparing his entire life for this. I am proud that Kevin and his family will be with us for years to come.”

Prior to coming to UNLV an an assistant, he spent two seasons as an assistant with Northern Arizona and spent three seasons with his father Lon as an assistant for Oklahoma.

Last season UNLV finished 12-15 and in seventh place in the Mountain West standings, just after they finished tied for second place in 2019-2020. Both years UNLV was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament.

Kevin will be introduced as the head coach to the public in a virtual press conference tomorrow.