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Lute Olson Named One of 10 Finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 12, 2000
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Tucson, Ariz. -- University of Arizona head basketball coach Lute Olson was named as one of the 10 finalists for enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today.

The list of finalists, which were named by the North American Screening Committee, includes five players, three coaches and two contributors to the sport of basketball. In addition to Olson, the group of 10 who comprise the fourth and last phase of finalists selected for consideration includes players Bobby Jones, Bob McAdoo, Sidney Moncrief, Isiah Thomas and James Worthy; coaches Jim Phelan and Morgan Wooten and contributors Junius Kellogg and C.M. Newton.

From this group, an individual will need 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for enshrinement. The new electees will be named during the week of May 22-26, with a press conference in New York City that week. The 2000 Enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 13, in Springfield, Mass.

"It is great honor just to be nominated, so to be a finalist for the Hall of Fame is even more special," Olson said. "I feel very blessed to have my name included with such a great group like this one. It's an honor that Bobbi and I are very excited about."

Olson just completed his 27th as a head coach at the Division I level and his 30th overall. He has compiled a record of 715-240 coaching record at Long Beach City College, Long Beach State, University of Iowa and the University of Arizona. He has spent the last 17 seasons at Arizona, where he owns a mark of 422-127. In 1997, Olson led Arizona to the NCAA championship and also led the Wildcats to the Final Four in 1988 and 1994. The seventh winningest active Division I coach (614-219), he holds the distinction of being one of 14 coaches in college history to coach in four or more Final Fours and is one of 11 coaches who have taken two different teams to the Final Four (Arizona, 1988, 1994, 1997; Iowa, 1980).

His 20 NCAA Tournament appearances are third most among active coaches and his 32 NCAA wins are the seventh-most in NCAA history. As head coach at Iowa, Olson led the Hawkeyes to the 1979 Big Ten championship and five consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He became coach at Arizona in 1984 and in 17 seasons has averaged nearly 25 wins a season. He has led Arizona to 13 consecutive 20-win seasons and the nation's best winning percentage (.812) during that time. He has also led Arizona to nine Pac-10 championships. Under Olson, Arizona's 16 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances is the longest current streak in college basketball and is second longest in NCAA history. He was been named national Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1990.

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