Legendary college basketball coach passes away at 85
The world has lost a coaching legend.
Hall of Famer and former Arizona and Iowa head basketball coach Lute Olson has died at the age of 85. He was hospitalized last year after suffering a stroke and was recently placed into hospice care.
Olson built the Arizona basketball program into a powerhouse during his long tenure with the Wildcats, coaching the program from 1983-2008. His career record at Arizona was 589-187 and led the Wildcats to 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
While at Arizona, Olson guided the Wildcats to four Final Four appearances and led the team to a national championship in 1997. Olson’s only losing season at Arizona was his first year on the job, as the Wildcats finished the 1983-84 campaign with an 11-17 mark. Arizona hit the 20-win mark 22 times during his career.
Prior to taking over at Arizona, Olson was also the head coach at Iowa, where he served from 1974-83. He compiled a 167-91 record and made five NCAA Tournament appearances as the coach of the Hawkeyes. Iowa reached the Final Four during the 1979-80 season.
Olson was responsible for five Final Four appearances, 11 Pac-10 titles, a B1G title and a national championship. He was a seven-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and a one-time recipient of the B1G Coach of the Year Award.