Lute Olson, Corridor of Fame coach, Arizona icon, dies at 85

Lute Olson, Hall of Fame coach, Arizona icon, dies at 85

Lute Olson, the Hall of Fame mentor who turned Arizona into a college or university basketball powerhouse, has died. He was 85.

Olson’s family said he died Thursday evening. The result in of loss of life was not provided.

“Coach Olson is the absolute best, 1 of the biggest coaches at any time and one particular of the finest human beings at any time,” Georgia Tech mentor and former Arizona participant Josh Pasnter tweeted. “My thoughts of gratitude and appreciation are not able to be place in terms. I appreciate him dearly. My heart hurts, but I know he is now in heaven. May god bless his spouse and children. #RIP”

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Olson spent 24 seasons at Arizona, revitalizing a fan base in the desert even though reworking a program that had been to the NCAA Match just a few periods in 79 several years prior to he was hired in 1983.

Olson initially took the Wildcats to the NCAA Match through his 2nd year in Tucson to begin a string of 25 straight appearances. The streak would have been the third-longest in NCAA background, but the 1999 and 2008 appearances have been later vacated by the NCAA for impermissible benefits to gamers and recruiting violations.

The Wildcats won a national championship under Olson in 1997 with a crew led by Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Miles Simon. Olson’s Arizona groups reached the Final Four four situations and lost the 2001 nationwide title video game to Duke.

“It’s tricky to set into words and phrases how a great deal Lute Olson intended to me,” Warriors and previous Olson player Steve Kerr tweeted. “He was an wonderful mentor & a superb man. Staying aspect of the U of A basketball relatives altered my everyday living eternally.I will never ever forget Mentor O, individuals wonderful nights at McKale and all my teammates. Thank you Coach- I really like you!”

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Olson received a school-file 589 video games at Arizona, 11 Pac-10 titles and was named the meeting coach of the yr seven times. He led Arizona to 20 straight 20-gain seasons and is a person of 5 coaches in NCAA record with 29 seasons of at minimum 20 wins.

Olson’s 327 conference victories are most in Pac-10/12 historical past and he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2002.

“It’s scarce that a gentleman is a Corridor of Famer and continue to beneath appreciated,” previous Arizona and NBA player Richard Jefferson tweeted. “I’ll normally experience like you in no way got the credit history you deserved as a leader, household man, grandfather, coach and as a mentor. I adore you Coach O.”

Olson had a collection of wellness difficulties late in his coaching profession, main to his retirement in 2008.

Arizona announced minutes right before the 2007-08 time opener that Olson would get an indefinite go away of absence. Affiliate head mentor Kevin O’Neill coached the Wildcats on an interim foundation the relaxation of the period.

Olson was set to return for the 2008-09 period, but the college declared his retirement following he skipped follow and a operate in Tucson. His medical doctor held a news convention 5 times later on, indicating Olson had an initially undiagnosed stroke previously in the calendar year, causing depression and impaired judgment. Olson also was hospitalized in 2019 after suffering a small stroke.

“I will overlook seeing him at our property video games and listening to our crowd yell, ‘Lute!’” present-day Arizona mentor Sean Miller mentioned in a assertion “My family members joins all of the recent associates of the Arizona Basketball system in sending our condolences and prayers to his spouse, Kelly, and the total Olson Household. I am permanently grateful to be a aspect of the basketball software and group that he impacted so immensely. Mentor O will undoubtedly be skipped, but normally remembered by us.”

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Olson remained in Tucson and became a standard at the McKale Center all through his retirement, drawing cheers each individual time he appeared on the online video board.

Born on a farm exterior Mayville, North Dakota, on Sept. 22, 1934, Olson led his substantial school staff to the 1952 point out championship and was a a few-sport athlete at Augsburg Higher education in Minnesota from 1953 to 1956.

Olson begun his career as a high school mentor in Minnesota and Southern California ahead of getting to be the head mentor at Very long Beach front City College or university, wherever he won the condition junior college or university title in 1971.

He put in a single year at Very long Seashore State before going on to mentor nine seasons at Iowa. He led the Hawkeyes to the NCAA Tournament his remaining five seasons, which includes a vacation to the 1980 Closing 4.

Olson experienced a career record of 780-280 in 34 yrs as a Division I mentor.

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About the Author: Warwick Clark

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