Lute Olson – End Of An Era

After 25 years, 4 Final Fours, 1 National Championship and a Naismith Hall of Fame induction, Lute Olson has decided to step down from his position as head coach of the University of Arizona and has chosen to retire. As a D1 coach his record is 780-280 overall and as head coach of the Wildcats, his record stands at 589-187. He also has a Pac-10 conference record of 327 wins. However, for all of his coaching accomplishments and successes that he’s seen throughout his career, over the past year he has exhibited some rather strange and erratic behavior that has done considerable damage to his reputation.

It all started at the beginning 2007-2008 season when he took a very sudden leave of absence from the team which was followed by news that he was divorcing his second wife. Then last December he announced that he would miss the entire season but return to coaching for the 2008-2009 season and said that assistant Kevin O’Neill (who is no longer with the team) would coach the team and ultimately succeed him. He later recanted that statement and declared that O’Neill would never succeed him. But then it got weirder. After all of that went down, he got into a verbal sparring confrontation on live talk radio with his ex-wife! At the team media day on Tuesday, he said that he was ready for the upcoming season and said that he felt more “energized”. The following day he skipped a team luncheon and missed the next two practices and by Thursday the school announced his retirement. So now, instead of us talking about how a coaching legend has gracefully bowed out with dignity and class, we’re left to wonder…what is really going on with Coach Olson?

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