October 19, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Corridor of Fame basketball mentor Lute Olson dies at 85

Hall of Fame basketball coach Lute Olson dies at 85

Hall of Fame basketball coach Lute Olson, who crafted Arizona into a national electricity and guided the Wildcats to the school’s only NCAA championship, has died at age 85.

Olson was hospitalized past 12 months after struggling a stroke, and was lately moved into hospice care.

His death was verified by relatives to Arizona media shops.

Olson went 589-187 in 24 seasons at Arizona and guided the Wildcats to four Ultimate Four appearances, 23 consecutive NCAA tournaments and 11 Pac-10 titles, as perfectly as the countrywide title in 1997.

He was inducted into the Professional Basketball Corridor of Fame in 2002 and the School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and a statue of Olson was erected outside the house the McKale Memorial Heart in 2018. The court within McKale was named in his honor in 2000, then grew to become “Lute and Bobbi Olson Court” a yr later to honor his late spouse.

Several former Wildcats players took to social media Friday evening to praise the beloved mentor, who finished with a 776-285 file in 34 seasons at Arizona, Iowa and Prolonged Beach front State.

Arizona gained just 4 online games in 1982-83, the year right before Olson arrived in Tucson, and had reached the NCAA tournament 2 times considering the fact that 1951.

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But the Wildcats turned items all around speedily below Olson, achieving the NCAA event in his second time at the faculty and advancing to the school’s very first Remaining Four in 1987-88, when they finished 35-3.

Arizona achieved the Last 4 again in 1994 right before winning its to start with and only NCAA title in 1997, when freshman Mike Bibby and junior Miles Simon led Olson and the Wildcats past closely favored Kentucky in the championship activity. That team stays the only one considering the fact that seeding started in 1979 to defeat three No. 1 seeds en route to profitable the title.

The Wildcats also advanced to the countrywide championship video game under Olson in 2001, when they ended up defeated by Duke.

Total, Olson won seven NCAA tournament video games versus No. 1 seeds (7-5 history). The only mentor to acquire additional these kinds of video games considering that 1979 is Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who is 8-7 in those people online games.

“Lute Olson was so much additional than a basketball coach,” College of Arizona president Robert C. Robbins reported. “He was an educator, a motivator, a spouse, a father, a grandfather and a buddy to so quite a few. He was a accurate leader in each and every sense of the phrase and shown such integrity and compassion in every endeavor. Although Coach will no lengthier be with us, his presence will be felt for generations to arrive.”

Existing Arizona coach Sean Miller claimed he discovered a good deal about Olson in speaking with his previous players and folks in the Tucson group.

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“He had no weaknesses as a mentor,” Miller said. “He was a incredible trainer of the game. He was a relentless recruiter. He was an astute evaluator of expertise. He was a intense and confident leader. He was additional than a mentor to all of his gamers. To this day, there is a link and closeness involving generations of Arizona players that will final endlessly.”

Born on a farm exterior Mayville, North Dakota, on Sept. 22, 1934, Olson led his superior school crew to the 1952 state championship and was a a few-sport athlete at Augsburg Faculty in Minnesota from 1953 to 1956.

He begun his occupation as a superior university mentor in Minnesota and Southern California prior to getting to be the head mentor at Prolonged Beach City School, where by he won the state junior college or university title in 1971.

In 1973-74, he took around at Lengthy Seashore Condition, where he went 24-2, just before being employed at Iowa the pursuing year. He coached the Hawkeyes to the NCAA tournament five times in nine seasons.

Details from The Connected Push was utilized in this report.