TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Legendary University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson has passed away and the world is mourning with his family.
KOLD News 13 confirmed Olson’s death with his son Greg and wife Stacy.
During his 25 years as Arizona’s head coach, Olson turned the Wildcats program from a basement dweller to one of the most recognizable brands in college basketball.
When he stepped away for good, he had amassed 589 wins, including a record 327 conference victories.
Olson was a seven-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, a national champion and a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer. Olson sent 34 players into the NBA who, over time, earned more than $1 billion in salaries and numerous championship rings.
His legacy in the college and professional ranks remains steadfast.
Many loved ones, former players and admirers flooded social media with memories of Olson, painting a vivid picture of his impact.
Below are some of the responses to his passing:
The University of Arizona has also released a statement in commemoration of Olson’s life, achievements and impact to the Wildcat family. This is a statement from University of Arizona President Robert Robbins:
“Lute Olson was so much more than a basketball coach. He was an educator, a motivator, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend to so many. He was a true leader in every sense of the word and displayed such integrity and compassion in every endeavor. While Coach will no longer be with us, his presence will be felt for generations to come. On behalf of the University of Arizona, our community and generations of Wildcat fans, we extend our thoughts and prayers to the Olson family.”
The Phoenix Suns and Mercury released the following statement.
“I have lost a friend and role model,” added Robert Sarver, Suns Owner and Managing Partner. “Lute always exuded such class, confidence and integrity. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”