Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats legend Lute Olson: “Never met a stranger” in Tucson

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Lute Olson

Lute Olson

Former Arizona Wildcats coach Lute Olson, a featured writer for ArizonaGuide.com yesterday, lauded Tucson and labeled himself an unofficial ambassador of the city.

“While I have spent my fair share of time exploring Arizona, Tucson is, and always will be, my favorite city,” Olson writes. “I think my passion for the community was often just as strong as it was for the University of Arizona, and I enjoyed when new recruits visited Tucson for the first time.

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“You could see the look in their eyes when they fell in love with the campus and city, taking in the experience of what it would be like as a student athlete at UofA. I loved that look – it was one of excitement, anticipation and pride in a college campus and town that fully embraced the Arizona Wildcats.”

Olson, who moved to Tucson along with his late wife, Bobbi, and family from Iowa in 1983, paints Tucson through his words as having a small-town friendliness.

“I always say that I’ve never met a stranger here,” he writes.


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Olson added that he considered the Tucson community part of his family after the people in the city offered their support following Bobbi’s passing from cancer in 2001.

“For those who haven’t been to Tucson or spent a significant amount of time here, it’s the kind of place where the people smile when you pass by. They are kind and genuine,” Olson writes. “When Bobbi passed away, the community’s support was unbelievable. I had always felt completely embraced by the community, but after Bobbi’s passing, I felt like Tucson residents had become family.”

With Olson’s Hall of Fame status and image as the father and savior of the nationally-acclaimed basketball program, Tucson could not have a better ambassador. Sean Miller is fast approaching, though, right?

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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