On Thursday, the University of Arizona stated that Lute Olson, the head coach for their team has passed away. Olson was constantly in bad health and had a minor stroke in 2019. As of now, we do not know the exact cause of death but reports state that he was 85 and his health kept on declining. Many players and authorities gave the coach tribute through their social media. Dave Heeke, the Director of Athletics at the University of Arizona stated that no one can match his legacy and he is the one who put Arizona’s basketball team on the map. Olson has been an inspiration to many and has guided and impacted thousands of lives during his time as a coach.
Robert C. Robbins, who is the President of the University of Arizona said that Olson was one of a kind and a true leader. He was not only a Basketball coach but also an educator and motivator. His presence will be felt by many of the coming generations and he will surely be missed. NBA paid a tribute to Lute Olson, Chadwick Boseman, and Clifford Robinson before their match on Thursday. The previous week has been a huge loss for everyone especially the basketball community. Olson was the coach for Arizona’s Men’s team for 25 years.
Who was Lute Olson?
Born in North Dakota, Olson’s father Albert passed away due to a stroke when he was only 47. After a few months, his brother Amos also died in an accident. Then Olson and his mother moved to Grand Forks. Olson then met Bobbi Russell, after which he led the Grand Forks Central as the center. After graduation with a degree in Physical Education, he started off as a coach for high school basketball. In 1969, he became the head coach for Long Beach City College. In 1974, he was the head coach for the University of Iowa. After that, he joined the University of Arizona which had the worst season. After Olson started coaching, Arizona rose to prominence and Olson was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He also coached the United States team for FIBA in 1986.
Olson has been under a lot of controversies due to his frequent absence from training sessions. The reasoning was given and none of them was related to health after which in 2008, Olson announced his retirement. His personal physician stated that he had minor strokes. He was also in depression which can cause impaired judgment while training the team. People say that they could see a change in their behavior. It had become difficult for him to lead with all the workload. While retiring, he had a record of 781–281 and with 589 wins, he was the coach with the most wins in the school history. Olson’s students have shown an amazing career in NBA and his coaching has encouraged many. Robert Luther Olson is inducted in both, the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and the Basketball Hall of Fame.