GFC grad Lute Olson dies at 85

GFC grad Lute Olson dies at 85 Click to Enlarge

North Dakota native Lute Olson, the Hall of Fame coach who turned Arizona into a college basketball powerhouse, has died. He was 85.

Olson’s family said he died Thursday evening. The cause of death wasn't given.

Olson was born in Mayville and graduated from Grand Forks Central, where he played on a state championship team.

He coached at Long Beach State and Iowa before spending 24 seasons at Arizona, revitalizing a fan base in the desert while transforming a program that had been to the NCAA Tournament just three times in 79 years before he was hired in 1983.

Olson first took the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament during his second season in Tucson to start a string of 25 straight appearances. The Wildcats won a national championship under Olson in 1997 with a team led by Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Miles Simon.


(Photo: University of Arizona)

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