Born: December 28, 1948 (Ellsworth, KS)
Graduated: Holyrood High School, 1967; Sterling College, 1971; Wichita State University, M.A., 1974
Deceased: September 23, 2016 (Sterling, KS)
No other collegiate women's basketball coach has more wins in Kansas history than Sterling College's Lonnie Kruse.
Before taking up coaching, Kruse was noted as an outstanding athlete, including signing a scholarship at Sterling College to play basketball and run track for the Warriors. When he graduated from college, Kruse held the all-time scoring record at Sterling College with 1,540 career points.
Following graduation, Kruse began his coaching career which started in the high school ranks across Kansas. In 1981, Kruse was offered the women's basketball head coaching position at his alma mater, Sterling College, which he accepted. Over the next thirty years of coaching, Kruse compiled more wins than any other women's college basketball coach in Kansas history.
In total, Kruse's teams won twelve Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) titles and appeared in sixteen NAIA National Tournaments, including ten Sweet Sixteen appearances, two Elite Eight appearances, and one Final Four appearance.
Kruse's players earned eighteen All-American honors and an astounding 121 All-KCAC honor athletes, to go along with forty-two Dakrtonics Scholar Athlete Awards.
Kruse's career record of 706-244 places him first in Kansas women's college basketball history.
Kruse won the KCAC Coach of the Year Award twelve times as a coach and in 2014, the Award was renamed the "Lonnie Kruse Coach of the Year Award." Kruse was also honored as the namesake of the basketball court at Sterling College, "Lonnie Kruse Court," in 2013. Kruse was inducted to the Sterling College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.