Special to the Herald
Ashford University director of athletics Meg Schebler has tabbed Kelly Kruger as head coach for the AU women’s basketball program.
Kruger boasts more than 20 years of coaching experience in the NAIA and NCAA Division II ranks. He has a career record of 420-337 and has six postseason tournament appearances to his credit. Kruger replaces Amy Eagan, who resigned to become head coach at her alma mater, Truman State in Missouri.
“I’m very pleased to announce the addition of such a well-established and proven winner in Kelly Kruger to the athletic department,” Schebler said. “Kelly has been around the game for a long time and has a solid track record of success as a head coach. I feel that the women’s basketball program is going to continue to build on the successes we’ve seen over the last few seasons, and I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds for the program.”
Kruger, a native Iowan from Little Rock, comes to Ashford from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., where he produced a 96-101 record as head women’s basketball coach from 2006 to 2013. The Grizzlies, an NCAA Division II program, appeared in a pair of NCAA tournaments, including a “Sweet 16” berth during the 2010-11 season in which ASU recorded a second consecutive 20-win season.
The Adams State women’s basketball program won just four games during the season before Kruger’s arrival, a mark he improved upon for five consecutive seasons culminating in a 23-10 record during the 2010-11 season.
“I’d like to thank Meg Schebler, Andy Eberhart and the rest of the search committee for the opportunity to be a part of the Ashford University family,” Kruger said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of an enthusiastic and professional athletic department. I’ve been very impressed with the people I’ve met, as well as their professionalism in everything they do; I see this as a great opportunity to help take the women’s basketball program to its next level.”
Before going to Adams State, Kruger was the head women’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State from 1991 to 2005. During his time at the helm of the Mustangs, Kruger notched a 234-164 record that included two NCAA tournament berths and a pair of NAIA regional tournament appearances.
Additionally, Kruger won Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships during the 2000-01 season and again during the 2001-02 season, a season that culminated in an NCAA tournament “Sweet 16” appearance.
Kruger began his coaching career at Northwestern, an NAIA institution in Orange City, where he tallied a 90-72 record from 1981 to 1987. During that time the Red Raiders made three NAIA District 15 tournament appearances and were twice Io-Kota Conference runners-up.
“We are extremely pleased to have coach Kruger joining our department and taking the lead of our women’s basketball program,” associate athletics director Andy Eberhart said. “Kelly brings a wealth of experience and success to the program, which personally makes me excited about the program’s future.”
Kruger also has extensive experience as a professor and most recently served as an assistant professor of human and physical education at Adams State. He also held similar faculty posts at Southwest Minnesota State and while at Northwestern.
Kruger is a 1981 graduate of Northwestern College with a degree in physical education and later earned a master’s degree in education from the University of South Dakota in 1986.