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From his statue outside of McKale Center to being the namesake of the award given to the nation’s top Division I player in NCAA, the University of Arizona’s legendary coach, Lute Olson’s impact can be felt from across the entire nation.

But on Aug. 27, the entire basketball world came to a standstill after the North Dakota native passed away at the age of 85.

News 4 Tucson remembers the life of Olson and his impact on the world through a collection of stories, videos and photographs taken throughout his 85 years on this world.


Submit your condolences and memories by clicking here.

Name (First) Name (Last) Share your favorite memory about Coach Olson Entry Date
Gabe Molina My one opportunity when I got to meet Coach O was when I was a contractor for SWG. He was there for a special event and there were tons of people who wanted to meet him. I patiently waited for my opportunity. One of the supervisors came up to me and asked me if I was waiting to meet the coach. I said that I was and she walked over to Coach O and whispered in his ear. He told the individual that he was talking with to hold on a minute and he immediately came over to me. He introduced himself and talkEd to me for a few minutes before my photo opportunity. This is the moment I will cherish from the greatest basketball coaches of all time. 8/30/2020 17:54
Ray Sandler My wife and I’m met Coach and Bobbi prior to a Wildcat football game while I was a student. He was warm and friendly. His willingness to talk with anyone who came up to him is something I will never forget. He was not only a great coach but a genuinely warm person and a class act. He made an impression on any person he met. Rest in peace, Lute and who the team in heaven into shape. 8/28/2020 22:28
DeAun Nieto Coach Olson took the time to stop and take a picture with my basketball crazed son. Noah had just taken part in the Lute Olson tournament at Sporting Chance. This is a special memory because Noah passed away this June from Chondroblastic Osteosarcoma.  Basketball was the biggest love in his life and the Wildcats and Coach Olson’s history were a big part of that. 8/28/2020 18:15
Patti Gibson I remember when the Wildcats won the National Championship in 1997.  I loved the whole team and Lute.  I was sitting on my couch, so happy I couldn’t stop crying.  Loved when Bennett Davidson messed up Lute’s hair! 8/28/2020 17:23
Toni Allen My husband and I are Wildcat alums and were at the U of A during Coach Olson’s reign. So many fun, exciting and cherished memories of Wildcat basketball including the national championship. He was bigger than life and such a beloved part of Tucson. While I never met him, a favorite memory was when attending church. As we all stood to greet one another, I turned around and was a bit startled as Lute was right behind me and got to  shake his hand. RIP in peace Lute.  Tell Bobbie we miss her too!❤️ 8/28/2020 17:13
Bryon Binkley Watching UOfA win the championship  thanks for the memories 8/28/2020 17:10
Jose Vasquez We Coach Lute just the fact that he put us on the college basketball MAP FOREVER!!


8/28/2020 15:59
Joaquin Lopez REST IN PEACE,

A true Tucson Icon who brought Unity, Respect, and Commitment to the Community and the Sport.

8/28/2020 13:55
Michael J. Fox In the championship season 1997 playoffs I “had” to visit Maui on a vacation. Of course I followed the Cats as they knocked off team after team. I had a hard time thinking that they would beat Kansas and its powerful team. The game was on the radio and I almost crashed the car I was driving as I heard the final minutes of that game when the Cats won. I had to pull over so I did not crash, I was so excited.

Amazing… amazing… the Arizona teams and of course the great coach. Lute will never be forgotten. Never! RIP from an appreciative Wildcat fan.

8/28/2020 13:32
Heywood Jablowme Bringing a national championship to Tucson in 1997. One of the best moments in the city’s history. 8/28/2020 13:28
Ricky Vazquez I had the honor of meeting Lute at an event hosted by Mr. An.  Lute was nothing short of genuine and humble. May he Rest In Peace. 8/28/2020 13:15
Tony Garcia Thank you for all the winning memories coach!!!  As u stare down from heaven may u continue ur classy winning ways!!!  GO CATS!!!!  MAY YOU REST IN PEACE COACH!!! 8/28/2020 13:12
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