Kelly Kruger will be entering his fourth season as the Head Coach of the Iowa Central Women’s Basketball program. Fall 2019 marks the start of his 34th season as a Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the collegiate level.
Iowa Central took another step in the right direction finishing the 2018-19 campaign with an overall record of 18-13, ICCAC league play record of 8-8, and earning the fifth seed in the Region XI tournament. Once again, the Tritons advanced to the Final Four before bowing out in the semi-finals of Region Play.
This year’s team had numerous individual accolades with three players making the ICCAC All-Region Team: Brittany West – 1st Team, Avery Terwilliger – 2nd Team, and Shariah Smith – 3rd Team. West was Coach Kruger’s first All-American as she was selected as a NJCAA 2nd Team All-American. Coach Kruger also helps monitor the academic welfare of the student-athletes. This past season, his influence helped produce 7 Academic All-Region players, and once again, Avery Terwilliger as an Academic All-American. The 2018-19 roster graduated four sophomores that will continue their basketball and academic careers at the next level.
Previously, Coach Kruger coached at Ashford University. The 2014-15 Saints finished with a record of 25-8, setting the new single-season program wins record on their way to their second consecutive A.I.I. Division II Women’s Basketball championship and a berth in the 2015 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship. Entering as a seven-seed, Ashford picked up its first national tournament win with a 66-50 victory over the sixth-ranked team in the nation, Indiana Wesleyan University. Kruger was named A.I.I Coach of the Year and helped guide sophomore Sarah Vozel to an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American selection in 2014-2015.
In his first year at Ashford, Kruger and the Saints notched defeated Rochester College (Mich.) and Indiana University Northwest to win the 2014 Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Division II Women’s Basketball Championship, and advanced to the NAIA national tournament for the first time. Under Kruger, the Saints ranked second in Division II in rebounding defense (32.4 rpg) and ninth in scoring defense (59.6 ppg). Additionally, three Saints were named NAIA Scholar Athletes in his first year as coach.
The 2015-2016 year was Kruger’s 30th season as a women’s college basketball coach at the NAIA and NCAA Division II ranks. With a career record of 429-358, he has a proven track record of success at both levels.
Kruger, a Little Rock, Iowa native, had previously coached at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., where he produced a 96-101 record as head women’s basketball coach from 2006-2013. The Grizzlies, an NCAA Division II program, appeared in two NCAA tournaments, including a “Sweet 16” berth during the 2010-2011 season in which ASU recorded its second consecutive 20-win season.
Adams State had won just four games during the season prior to Kruger’s arrival, a mark he improved upon for five consecutive seasons, culminating a 23-10 record during 2010-11 season.
Kruger was the head women’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN. (1991-2005). There, Kruger notched a 234-164 record which included two NCAA tournament berths and two NAIA Regional Tournament appearances.
At SMSU, Kruger won back-to-back Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Championships in 2000-01 and 2001-02, a season where SMSU reached the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA tournament. He was named conference coach of the year three times.
Kruger began his coaching career at Northwestern College, a NAIA institution in Orange City, Iowa, where he had a 90-72 record from 1981-1987. During that time, the Red Raiders made three NAIA District 15t Tournament appearances and were twice Io-Kota Conference runners-up.
Kruger is a 1981 graduate with a degree in physical education and later earned a Master’s degree in education from the University of South Dakota in 1986. His wife Patti and he have three children: son Carter, daughters Kelsie and Katie, and daughter-in-law Jenni.
· Most wins in program history (25-8, 2014-15)
· First Conference championship in program history (2013-14)
· First-time NAIA National Tournament qualifier (2013-14)
· Back-to-back Conference Champions (2013-14, 2014-15)
· First NAIA National Tournament win (2014-15)
· First NAIA National Tournament Sweet-Sixteen appearance (2014-15)
· Conference Coach of the Year (2014-15)
· All-American Players (Sarah Vozel, 2014-15)
· 7 A.I.I. All-conference players
Adams State University
· First 20-win season in NCAA Division II history (21-8, 2009-10)
· First NCAA Tournament qualifier in program history (2009-10)
· Most wins in NCAA Division II history (23-10, 2010-11)
· Back-to-back 20-win seasons
· First NCAA National Tournament Sweet-Sixteen appearance (2010-11)
· All-American Players (Vera Jo Bustos, 2010-11)
· 10 RMAC All-Conference players
Southwest Minnesota State University
· NSIC Conference Coach of the Year (1993-94, 1999-00, 2000-01)
· First 20-win season in school history (20-9, 1999-00)
· Most wins in school history (25-5, 2000-01)
· Longest winning streak in program history (20 consecutive wins, 2000-01)
· First Conference Championship in Division II history (2000-01)
· First NCAA Tournament qualifier (2000-01)
· Back-to-back Conference champions (2000-01, 2001-02)
· Four consecutive 20-win seasons (20-9, 1999-00; 25-5, 2000-01; 24-8, 2001-02; 21-10, 2002-03)
· NSIC Conference Tournament Champions (2001-02)
· Two consecutive NCAA Tournament qualifiers
· First NCAA National Tournament Sweet-Sixteen appearance (2001-02)
· NSIC Conference Player of the Year (Andrea Schreier 2000-01, Michelle Bruns 2004-05)
· All-American Players (Lille Brown 1995-1996, Andrea Schreier 2000-01, Michelle Bruns 2004-05)
· 28 NSIC All-Conference Players