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Kruger Is Hired by UNLV

March 16, 2004|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Nevada Las Vegas hired Lon Kruger, a veteran college and pro coach, to lead the Runnin' Rebels basketball program back to national prominence.

Kruger accepted a five-year contract Monday, UNLV Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said. The Nevada Board of Regents must approve the hiring at its Thursday meeting.

Kruger, fired last season by the Atlanta Hawks, most recently was an assistant coach for the New York Knicks.

"Every [criterion] we set out for has been met," Hamrick said. "We wanted a successful college coach. We found everything we were looking for. We want to go back to the top, and we want to do it the right way."

Kruger said he agreed to become UNLV's 10th head coach Sunday. He said UNLV was attractive because the program didn't need to be rebuilt and had a winning tradition. Jerry Tarkanian won a national championship in 1990.

"This is a place where you can win," Kruger said. "We're not taking over a program that's down by any means."

Coach Charlie Spoonhour stepped down a month ago because of health reasons, and his son and assistant coach, Jay Spoonhour, took over the team.

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