A sad day for college basketball as Lute Olson has (finally) stepped down at the University of Arizona. As a huge UA fan I'm torn.
Lute should have stepped down two years ago. The shenanigans last year with Kevin O'Neill as the interim coach were laughable. I think it could really cost Zona the next couple of years in terms of recruiting. His best coaching days were clearly behind him as you could see a noticeable difference since about the 2005 season in his ability to make mid-game adjustments.
I imagine this is how Penn State and Florida State fans will feel when Joe Pa and Bobby Bowden step down. Lute took Arizona from basketball purgatory and turned it into one of the top programs in the country. He won a National Championship, went to 4 other Final Fours with the Cats, 3 Elite Eights and 3 Sweet Sixteens. Second most NCAA tournament appearances of all time (27). Tied for the most consecutive NCAA tournament appearances (24).
Lute probably goes down as one of the top 10 college coaches of all-time. Off the top of head he is clearly behind the likes of John Wooden, Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith. He's in the same breath as Coach K, Bobby Knight, Hank Iba and Roy Williams.
Lute, happy trails and Bear Down.