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Cole and Kruger make big bucks for “not so great” basketball programs…..

Sooner women’s basketball coach Sherry Cole (Dallas Morning News)




HOUSTON, TEXAS – APRIL 01: Head coach Lon Kruger of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on during a practice session for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four at NRG Stadium on April 1, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As of the 2019-20 college basketball season, Oklahoma men’s head coach Lon Kruger’s annual salary is $3.25 million dollars. On the women’s side, head coach Sherry Cole’s annual salary is $1.33 million dollars.  Kruger is the 3rd highest salaried employee in the Higher Education system in the state and Cole is number seven.  With such generous salaries, we have two basketball programs that Sooner fans should take a serious look at to determine in the OU Athletic Department is getting what they are paying for with regard to these two coaches and the sport they sit atop.  Sure, Kruger has taken the Sooners to a Final Four, but no conference titles, and Cole was successful in her early years, putting the program on the map.  But lately for both, it seems that OU is stuck in the mud.


On the sidelines of an OU game is Sherry Cole (Photo source: Norman Transcript)


In a game last week, the OU men played a home game with fellow Big Twelve member Iowa State and one top newspaper reporter mentioned that the crowd in the Lloyd Noble was the smallest he could remember in many years.  This is for a team that is not bad, but in reality, a little better than just average.  As for the women’s games at home, routine crowds of two to three thousand in the arena on any given night is typical for a struggling program that won only eight games in 2018-2019 and currently playing with a losing conference record.    These are just the facts.  OU has not even approached the success of Kansas on the men’s side and Baylor continues to dominate the Big Twelve in women’s play and today the programs in Waco and Norman do not compare in success.  

Lon Kruger (photo: Crimson and Cream Machine)


The basketball programs, men and women, are not making waves nationally, conference wise, and in fact, are losing money for the sports department.  We must remember that both coaches are paid within the athletic department and receive no state funding for the salaries.  But when will the power person in charge, Athletic Director Joe Castiglione, realize that the status-quo might not be good enough for this University? By the way, Joe C makes over $1.5 million himself.

Sherry Cole (Photo: News6)


Attendance, site facility, quality of play, quality of athlete, and the importance of fan interest are all issues with the two OU hoops programs.  This is also issues with most universities that put a ball on the hardwood for consumption.  Yes, OU is not Kansas basketball, but can not it be better than it is now?  HOME CROWDS AND INTEREST DRIVE COLLEGE BASKETBALL AND IN 2020 OKLAHOMA IS FAILING IN BOTH.



OU needs to take a strong look at both basketball programs, and the continual $$$$ increases for the fans to attend games in Norman continue to rise while the stagnant programs continue to sink into mediocracy.   Joe C, are you happy with what is taking place right now?



That is the way I see it sports fans.

About Fred Pahlke

Fred Pahlke, an Oklahoma native has viewed over 10,000 sporting events in his 65 years. A season ticket holder of the Oklahoma City Thunder, former season tickect holder for the Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma City University Chiefs/Stars, he is an expert in both professional and college basketball and football. A high school athlete at Classen High School in basketball and tennis, he played amateur tennis after high school in the Missouri Valley Tennis Association. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, he taught in the public schools for 6 years before becoming a building administrator in the Oklahoma City Public Schools for 31 years, 28 as the Principal of various schools in the district. He has guided various high school and college athletes in his time as an educator and coach. Fredsportsextra has recorded 101, 410 article views in its first ten months, from August 2015 through May 2016.

10 Responses to “Cole and Kruger make big bucks for “not so great” basketball programs…..”

  1. February 16, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    it is not entirely on the coaches…that I totally agree. With Cole, it is many times really good professionally to move to another program to rejuvenate yourself and get that fire back…not saying she does not have a desire at OU….but the fact that it could be good for her mentally to try another school…she is still young and would be able to get another excellent school to work at on the top; level. For Kruger, he will retire at OU, I get it. But the basketball progams right now with the lack of attendance is embarrassing to the school….it just is.

  2. GDT
    February 16, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Sherry knows she is cutting a fat hog at OU. What is her mantra every year?
    “We are young & getting better”, got a lot of underclassmen players that are gonna get better. Four years later, we are young, blah blah blah. When do you get better Sherry? You haven’t gotten better since the twins graduated. You don’t compete, you talk. You have lost the fire. You’ve made enough money, it is time to retire, move on, give it up. Let some new blood come in. You want to know how to be a successful consistent winning coach? Walk down the hall and learn from Patty Gasso. None better. If you are making more $$ than she is, that is wrong!

  3. February 16, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    both coaches in question are top level people and have deserved their high salaries at one time. For Kruger, you can still make a case but for Cole, not so much. Time for both to win some conference titles….

  4. February 16, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    someone, after 700 or so views, have noticed I spelling the women’s coach, Sherri Coale wrong, intentionally. That tells me that the fan base do not know the correct spelling of their coach…Sad.

  5. STarlin Wood
    February 17, 2020 at 8:50 am

    I totally agree with you, Fred! The facts do not lie! Production is low! The salaries are really high and the university is not getting its money’s worth! Sadly enough the talents of the athletes are not being maximized either! This level of productivity would never be allowed in football! I agree it is time to produce or step down! Who at the university administration is holding these people accountable? I know they are both good people but that doesn’t guarantee coaching success! I feel they lack the passion of their early years! I hope change is coming soon!

    • February 17, 2020 at 11:01 am

      Thank you for posting STarlin. As Kruger will retire at OU, his job will not ever be on the line. But when OU brings in a new coach when Lon is finished Joe C needs to find a man that can bring “significant” players into the program that can bring excitement to OU. Young was such the man for Lon but he just lasted one year as of the sorry state of the college game on the men’s side. Coale needs to go in my opinion, recharge her coaching skills and build another program at another school. She would get a job immediately if she was out at OU. Her time at OU seems to be over.

  6. Danny Elliott
    February 17, 2020 at 10:23 am

    So by those standards fans should only attend games when their team is top ten, conference champions, or contenders for a national championship. The attendance has never been great at OU basketball games. Not for any coach. On the men’s side OU has lost some great talent to the NBA. No matter how much you pay a coach that doesn’t change the culture. Kansas has a packed house but not at football games. I’d love for the LNC to be full and loud every game but the coaching is not the cause.

    • February 17, 2020 at 10:57 am

      Good points Danny. What standards are you referring to? OU basketball fans on the women’s side DO attend games when the team is good as when Stacy Dales and the Paris women played. Crowds of nine thousand happened as those teams/women were as good as any in the country. Fans should support teams. As for the men, Kelvin and Billy had, for OU, great crowds and when Blake played for OU the place had respectable attendance. But to say that the coach has little to with the program and attendance is not a cause is just plumb silly. That crowd against ISU was a total embarrassment to the Sooner men’s program. Thank you for your comments. Appreciated and continue to give your opinions.

  7. Warren Blankenship
    February 17, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Real quick I’m a truck driver but in my opinion . The basketball programs are competing with its own programs. OUs success in Softball Men and Women’s gymnastics are getting a lot of Sooner Fans Dollars. Hard to attend everything !! Especially for me!!🚚

    • February 17, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      good point. But if the basketball programs would put a product on the court as good as the softball and gymnastics I think you would have more than two thousand fans at a Big 12 conference game (even if they sold three times the number of tickets) and the women’s two thousand would also be much larger. And to pay out over 7 million dollars for coaching those two sports is just not good. My season ticket donor charge was doubled this year from last for the men’s games and that is just not going to wash. I know many others that will not pay that and they will just show up at a game and buy a ticket from another fan for five dollars. The Sooner AD has gouged it’s donor fan base and that is not helping.

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