Robert "Lute" Olson
Lute Olson’s quiet demeanor on the bench qualified him as a throwback to basketball’s early game coaches, but his brilliance as a recruiter, tactician, and builder of programs 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 made the Wildcats a fixture in the national championship hunt each season, guiding his teams to Final Four appearances in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. In 1997, Arizona won the national championship becoming the first team to beat three number one seeds in the NCAA Tournament. 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 college basketball’s all-time leaders. Olson also delivered players to the next level in amazing numbers, lending credence to his ability to develop talent.
BornSeptember 22, 1934 Mayville, ND
DiedAugust 27, 2020
CollegeArizona Iowa Long Beach State