Hall of Famer and former Arizona men’s basketball head coach Lute Olson has died aged 85.
L’Arizona Daily Star’s Greg Hansen reported on Tuesday that Olson was fighting for his life before Stadium’s Jeff Goodman and KOLD’s Dan Marries confirmed that Olson died on Thursday.
The school then officially announced the news.
Olson was the head coach of the Arizona men’s basketball program for 25 years, taking the job in 1983 before retiring in 2008. He is widely credited with establishing the Wildcats as one of the forces. predominant sports on the West Coast, posting a record 589 -187 over nearly three decades.
Prior to Olson’s first season, the Wildcats ended the 1982-83 season with four wins and 24 losses. After a debut record of 11-17 in its first year, Olson, Arizona teams continued to compete in the NCAA tournament for 24 straight seasons, ending with single-digit losses in 20 of those 24 campaigns.
Under Olson, Arizona has won a regular-season conference championship 11 times, four postseason conference tournaments and made the Final Four of the NCAA tournament on four separate occasions.
This includes the 1997 NCAA tournament that the Wildcats won.
The program has also gained notoriety for developing NBA-caliber talent and helping them take success to the next level, with notable names including Mike Bibby, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Terry, Sean Elliott, Andre Iguodala, and Richard Jefferson.
Arizona was Olson’s last stop as a coach after spending over 10 years coaching in high school before joining Long Beach Community College in 1969. After going to Long Beach State for just one year in 1973 and Going 24-2, Olson took on the head coach job. work in Iowa, where he went 167-91 from 1974-1983.
Olson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times.