WICHITA, KAN. – The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (KSHOF) announced Monday that Sterling College Hall of Famer Lonnie Kruse will be inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame on October 4th.
“It’s an honor to be inducted in to the KSHOF,” said Lonnie Kruse, “I was totally shocked when they called me and told me that I was being inducted. It’s something that you never expect would happen. I would like to thank everyone that was involved in the decision making process and also thank everybody that has supported me and the Lady Warrior basketball program over the years.”
A native of Holyrood, Kansas, Lonnie Kruse left a coaching legacy that is unmatched in Kansas history. Kruse attended Sterling College from 1967 to 1971 where he played basketball. Upon completion of his career, Kruse held the school’s record for career scoring with 1,540 points. Kruse returned to his alma mater as head women’s basketball coach in 1981 and thus began one of the most decorated coaching careers in Kansas history. From 1981 to 2014, Kruse compiled a coaching record of 706-244; the most coaching wins in Kansas women’s basketball history. Under Kruse’s guidance, the Warriors won twelve KCAC regular season championships and made sixteen NAIA National Tournament appearances, including ten Sweet Sixteen appearances, two Elite Eight appearances, and one NAIA Final Four appearance. He was named the KCAC Coach of the Year twelve times during his career. In total, Kruse coached sixty-six players to earn first-team All-Conference selections, eighteen NAIA All-American selections, and forty-two Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes. Kruse’s honors included being inducted to the Sterling College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 as well as being the namesake for the Sterling College basketball court in 2013 and the KCAC Coach of the Year award named in his honor in 2014.
The KSHOF Class of 2015 consists of eleven members: University of Kansas and Seattle Seahawk linebacker Terry Beeson from Coffeyville; Topeka native and two-time Gold Glove Award winner Ken Berry; University of Kansas All-American softball player and the school’s all-time softball coaching wins leader Tracy Bunge; Kansas State University tight end and three-time Pro Bowl selection of the Green Bay Packers, Paul Coffman from Chase; two-time Benedictine College All-American and four-time state basketball championship coach Mathew “Chic” Downing of Atchison; 1996 U.S. Olympic gold medalist in the triple-jump Kenny Harrison from Kansas State University; twelve-time KCAC women’s basketball Coach of the Year at Sterling College Lonnie Kruse from Sterling; three-time Big 12 Conference basketball selection and Kansas State University’s all-time assist leader, Shalee Lehning of Sublette; fourteen-time All-American in football and track at Pittsburg State University and two-time Pro Bowl selection Brian Moorman from Sedgwick; three-time National Championship coach and two-time National Coach of the Year at Butler Community College Troy Morrell from Buhler; three-sport athlete from Wichita State University and long-time major conference official in football and basketball Dick Sanders from Wichita.
“We are so proud that Lonnie Kruse will be put into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He has meant so much to Sterling College and our Women’s Sterling basketball team throughout his legendary career here,” said Sterling Athletic Director Gary Kempf, “Not only was he the consummate coach, but he was also the father figure for many of our student athletes. We have known for many years that he was one of the finest coaches ever to coach in the NAIA, and ever to coach at any level. This is a very special day for all the Warrior faithful and another well-deserved honor for Coach Kruse.”
The induction ceremony will be held on Sunday, October 4, 2015, at the Wichita Boathouse. The eleven-person class raises the total number of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees to 248. The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame is in its 54th year of operation. Tickets for the 2015 Induction Ceremony go on sale on August 3, 2015.
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