The "Legends of Coaching" Award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999, with the honors going to North Carolina's Dean Smith and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski in the first two seasons. It recognizes the lifetime achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden's high standards of coaching success and personal achievement.
Olson will be presented the Wooden Legends of Coaching trophy as he is honored along with the Silver Anniversary 2001 John R. Wooden Award winner, college basketball's player of the year, and the Wooden Award All-America Team at the 25th annual John R. Wooden Award program. The Award presentation will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on Friday, April 6, 2000 at 4 p.m. PST/7 p.m. EST and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net for the fourth straight year.
Olson has led Arizona to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 16 seasons, the longest current active streak and the second-longest all-time. With a top-five national ranking in 2001 and all five starters on the preseason Wooden Award list, Olson is poised for another long run in the postseason. He has won nine Pac-10 titles in 17 seasons at Arizona, and has coached his team to three Final Fours, including the 1997 NCAA Championship. Prior to coaching at Arizona Olson spent one year at Long Beach State (1972-73) and nine seasons at Iowa (1974-83), where he led his 1980 team to the Final Four. His 21 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances rank No. 2 on the active coaches' list.
He is an eight-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year honoree and is one of only six coaches to win 200 career Pac-10 games. Olson is the No. 2 coach in Pac-10 history for career winning percentage (.810/304-74) in conference games, trailing only the legendary Wooden. Olson's 1999-2000 season was highlighted by his 600th career win, his 400th victory as Arizona's head coach and the renaming of the McKale Center playing surface, "Lute Olson Court".
Tickets for the black tie John R. Wooden Award Presentation Gala, to be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles following the televised announcement, are $150 and may be obtained by calling The Los Angeles Athletic Club at (213) 630-5255. On Dec. 28, the mid-season top-30 candidates will be announced between games of the Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic on Fox Sports Net.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club, one of the nation's finest and oldest private athletic clubs, inaugurated the John R. Wooden Award in 1977, and past winners include Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Larry Bird. Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin won the Wooden Award in 2000.