Former Arizona coach and Hall of Famer Lute Olson has passed away at age 85. Olson, is the all-time winningest coach in Arizona men’s basketball history.
Prior to landing in Tucson, he also coached at Long Beach State University and Iowa.
The North Dakota native made an instant impact when he joined the team back in 1983. The year before he arrived, the team had won just four games.
Olson retired from coaching in 2008, calling it a career with a 1997 national title, four Final Fours, 11 Pac-10 regular season titles and a 587-190 record with the Wildcats. He also took Iowa to the Final Four in 1980. His 781 career wins ranks 14th all-time among Division I men’s basketball coaches.
Steve Kerr, Jason Terry, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, who all played for Coach Olson, paid tribute to him with nice words through their social media accounts.
It’s hard to put into words how much Lute Olson meant to me.He was an amazing coach & a wonderful man. Being part of the U of A basketball family changed my life forever.I will never forget Coach O, those awesome nights at McKale and all my teammates. Thank you Coach- I love you! pic.twitter.com/GUvtSFr9Lm— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) August 28, 2020
It’s rare that a man is a Hall of famer and still under appreciated. I’ll always feel like you never got the credit you deserved as a leader, family man, grandfather, coach and as a mentor. I love you Coach O 🐻⬇️— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) August 28, 2020
Thank you coach for taking a chance on some skinny kid from Chandler,Az. I owe my whole basketball career to you and what you taught me. I’m gonna miss you. pic.twitter.com/yRIBVKM137— Channing Frye (@channingfrye) August 28, 2020