Arizona Athletics will hold a ceremony to dedicate the Lute Olson statue on April 12 from 4-6 p.m. on the Eddie Lynch Pavilion at McKale Center.
The statue, which will be located north of the Jim Click Hall of Champions, is being constructed to honor Coach Olson for his significant contribution to the University of Arizona and the Tucson community. Due to space limitations, this will be an invite-only event, but the department is planning on providing a live stream.
Olson served as the head coach at Arizona for 24 seasons and amassed a 589-187 (.759) record. He led the Wildcats to the 1997 National Championship, four Final Four appearances, 23 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and 11 Pac-10 titles, while earning Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors seven times. Olson also guided Arizona to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons, and, at the time of his retirement, was one of only three coaches in NCAA history to record 29 or more 20-win seasons. For all of his accomplishments, Olson was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
The location of the statue was determined based on a number of factors. The Eddie Lynch Pavilion Plaza is connected with central campus and the UA mall, which sees the greatest amount of the area’s general traffic. That area also sees a large percentage of the basketball gameday traffic. The south side of McKale was not considered because of potential arena expansion plans in the future.
The construction of the statue coincides with the 30th anniversary of the 1988 men’s basketball team. The ’88 team was the first in program history to qualify for the Final Four. They also won Pac-10 regular season and tournament championships en route to a 35-3 record. Because of this team’s accomplishments, it’s fitting that the statue of Olson will become a reality this year as a way to honor the great ’88 team.
Information for this story was provided by the Arizona Communications Office.