Lute Olson

Inducted Class of 1999

As coach of the Arizona Wildcats’ basketball team, Olson created a “hoops-crazed oasis in the desert.” In the 1997-98 season, Olson reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the NCAA title. He has been named Coach of the Year in the Pacific-10 Conference six times and Big Ten Coach of the Year twice. In addition to these great achievements, he has won a variety of regional and national honors. The excitement that Olson has brought to McKale Center has been parlayed into sellout season-ticket crowds. His trips to the NCAA Tournament places him sixth on the all-time head coaching list. Furthermore, many of his players have gone on to NBA rosters, including Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, Jud Buechler and Brian Williams.

Coach Olson participates in many charitable functions, including those benefiting the YMCA, Salvation Army, United Way, Easter Seals, Arizona Arthritis Center, Blake Foundation, Special Olympics, Cancer Society and the Pima County Asthma Association. He also serves on the boards of Casa de Los Ninos, the Arizona Arthritis Center and is on the advisory committee of the Historical Foundation.