March 6, 2009
Following 50 years of coaching, including 25 at Arizona, former head coach Lute Olson will be recognized with his induction into the Pac-10 Men's Basketball Hall of Honor next week during the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament.
Olson, who retired on Oct. 23, finished his career at Arizona with a 589-187 record, 11 Pac-10 titles, 23 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, four Final Fours, and a national championship in 1997. Olson also holds the conference's record for most wins (327) and is second in winning percentage behind the legendary John Wooden.
"We are forever grateful for the recognition Lute brought to the Pac-10 through his accomplishments and successes with his Wildcat teams," said Pac-10 assistant commissioner Dave Hirsch at the halftime ceremony to honor Olson Thursday. "Normally there's a waiting period when considering someone for this honor, but in this situation, why wait."
Arizona honored Olson at halftime of the Wildcats game against California, where Arizona president Robert Shelton, athletics director Jim Livengood and former player and current Phoenix Suns general manger Steve Kerr all spoke about the Hall of Fame head coach.
In his time at Arizona, he collected seven Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards while guiding the Wildcats through a streak of 20 straight seasons with 20 or more wins.
In addition to his accomplishments at Arizona, Olson ended his coaching career with a 780-280 record and ranks 12th on the all-time NCAA victories list. Olson also coached at Long Beach State and led Iowa to a Final Four as well. He has produced 54 NBA draft picks, including 33 at Arizona and won a gold medal at the 1986 World Championships coaching Team USA.
Olson is one of ten former student-athletes and coaches that will be recognized during the 2009 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament including Royce Youree (Arizona State), Nibs Price (California), Greg Ballard (Oregon), Paul Valenti (Oregon State), Jim Pollard (Stanford), Michael Warren (UCLA), Gus Williams (USC), Detlef Schrempf (Washington) and Isaac Fontaine (Washington State).
The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 14 during the Pac-10 Hall of Honor luncheon.
Since the conference established the Hall of Honor, seven other former Arizona men's basketball members have been elected including Sean Elliot (2002), Steve Kerr (2003), Khalid Reeves (2004), Pete Williams (2005), Damon Stoudamire (2006), Chris Mills (2007) and Miles Simon (2008).