Former Arizona Coach, Hall of Famer Lute Olson Dies at Age 85August 28, 2020
Former Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson died Thursday at the age of 85, Kelly Olson told Jeff Goodman of Stadium:
Arizona Basketball noted the program is "forever indebted" to the legendary coach:
Olson suffered a stroke in February 2019 and had been unable to fully recover. He also suffered a stroke in 2008.
Anthony Victor Reyes of KVOA Tuscon reported Tuesday the coach was in hospice care and he was in a "fight for his life."
Olson is best known for his 24 seasons coaching the University of Arizona, leading the team to the national championship in 1997 with a team that featured Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Miles Simon.
He also led the school to four Final Four appearances, the only ones in school history, while adding 11 regular-season titles in the Pac-12.
The Wildcats had only three NCAA tournament appearances before Olson took over in 1983 but the school became a national power by the time he retired in 2007.
Former Wildcats Richard Jefferson, Jason Terry and Steve Kerr took to Twitter on Thursday night to pay tribute to their former coach:
Steve Kerr @SteveKerr
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! https://t.co/GUvtSFr9Lm
Olson also spent time with Cal State Long Beach and Iowa, leading the Hawkeyes to the Final Four in 1980, while totaling 781 wins over his more than three decades in Division I.
He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.