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UA Names Basketball Court in Honor of Lute Olson
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 24, 2000
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TUCSON--McKale Center's playing court will officially be named "Lute Olson Court" in a ceremony following Saturday's University of Arizona men's basketball game against Arizona State, UA athletics director Jim Livengood announced Thursday morning.

"This is something we've been thinking about for some time and it really came down to a question of "why not?" in terms of doing it now, while Lute Olson is still coaching at the University of Arizona," Livengood said. "Considering all the things he's accomplished in his 17 years of coaching the Wildcats, it's an honor everyone involved in the process felt was timely."

"I preferred this be something that happened after I was done coaching, simply because I will have to go out on that floor on Monday for practice and coach on Lute Olson Court," Olson said. "But, it's a special honor and one that 17 years ago, I never could have envisioned, especially when I had a one-year contract when I came to the University of Arizona."

Olson, 65, has taken three UA teams to the Final Four, won the 1997 NCAA Championship, has eight Pacific-10 Conference titles, been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year eight times and has taken 15 consecutive teams to the NCAA Tournament. He has a career record of 610-216 and a mark of 418-124 in his 17th season at Arizona.

The Wildcats are 23-4 this year and currently ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls.

Olson's teams always have played tough at home, with a career record of 256-26 in McKale Center. His 71-game winning streak from 1987 to 1992 is the nation's 10th-best home court winning streak. He has coached seven teams to undefeated home records and the Wildcats have won 184 of the past 195 games held in the facility.

McKale Memorial Center was built in 1973 and named in honor of J.F. "Pop" McKale, long-time coach and educator at the University.

McKale has been sold out for men's basketball for the past 13 seasons. Arizona has led the Pac-10 in attendance since 1984-85, Olson's second season.

Livengood said the design and location of the emblem or emblems bearing Olson's name will be unveiled in Saturday's ceremony.

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