Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

Kruse Inducted into KBCA Hall of Fame


Courtesy of Sterling College Athletics


SALINA, Kan. ( –To take a quote from “The Sandlot”, arguably one of the best baseball movies of all time, “Remember, kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” In a scene where Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez has a dream about how to get a baseball, signed by Babe Ruth, back from the backyard owned by “the Beast”, a legendary junkyard dog who has kept every baseball that has been hit into his domain, Ruth gives Rodriguez this advice about heroes and legends. In the next scene, Benny goes toe to toe with the Beast, named Hercules, after hopping the neighbor’s fence, snatching the ball signed by Ruth after an intense stare-down with Hercules, followed by the most epic chase scene through the small town which culminated in Hercules’ back yard once again after Benny had tamed the Beast. The ball, which was originally stolen from the trophy case of a teammate’s step-dad, was traded for a “better” ball.

Although I don’t know that Lonnie Kruse ever saved anyone from a most certain doom for sacrificing a priceless heirloom for a middle of the day, backyard baseball game, (yet I don’t know if anyone would be surprised if such a story came about) Kruse has certainly proven his legendary status in the basketball coaching world once again by being named to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association (KBCA) Hall of Fame (posthumously). Saturday evening, in Salina, Kan., the KBCA hosted its annual All-Star game where Coach Kruse was honored at halftime along with three other inductees into the 2023 Hall of Fame Class.

In his career at Sterling, Kruse was named the KBCA Women’s Coach of the Year three times. He amassed 706 career wins at Sterling College, making him the winningest Kansas women’s basketball coach. He made 16 trips to the NAIA National Tournament and was a 12-time KCAC Coach of the Year to go along with his 12 KCAC Championships. In his career, Kruse had an astonishing 30 winning seasons. He also garnished 18 NAIA All-Americans and 121 All-KCAC honorees. Kruse coached for 33 years at Sterling.

Here at Sterling College, the legend of Coach Lonnie Kruse, continues to grow.