Robert "Lute" Olson

Enshrined 2002
Mayville, North Dakota
Born September 22, 1934


Lute Olson's quiet demeanor on the bench qualifies him as a throwback to basketball's early game coaches, but his brilliance as a recruiter, tactician and builder of programs has enabled him to excel like few others in the modern collegiate game. Following successful stints at Long Beach State and the University of Iowa - where he guided the Hawkeyes to five consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and the 1980 Final Four - Olson transformed Arizona into a national power and brought new prominence to West Coast basketball. Olson has made the Wildcats a fixture in the national championship hunt each season, guiding his teams to Final Four appearances in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000 decades. He is one of a handful of coaches to take two different teams to the Final Four and his more than 700 victories ranks him among the college basketball's all-time leaders. With a winning percentage at Arizona exceeding the 80 percent mark the last two decades, Olson stands alone in that impressive category.

Career Highlights

NCAA Championship at Arizona, 1997
National Coach of the Year, 1988, 1990
Gold Medal coach at Jones Cup (1984) and World Championships (1986)
One of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 24 or more 20-win seasons