TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Tucson is saying goodbye to a legend. Coach Lute Olson passed away Thursday night. His statue on campus became a memorial for the legendary coach today.
People trickled in all day Friday to pay their respects, leaving flowers, basketballs, cards and candles at the McKale Center where his statue stands.
“As small as I was, I’ve always been a basketball fan,” said Jerry Pesqueira, who came to remember the coach who made such an impact on his life.
Pesqueira said he and his grandfather used to watch the games together. His grandfather passed away not long after the University of Arizona won their first national championship with coach Olson.
“He was a good man, just like Lute Olson,” he said of his grandfather. “It broke my heart (when coach Olson died) because I kind of pictured him and my grandfather in the same essence.”
The mourning for the coach has stretched across generations—young and old leaving their tribute.
“He’s probably changed lives for not only myself, but a lot of people,” said Pesqueira. “He will be greatly missed. He probably made me a better man just by watching his example.”