Former Arizona Basketball coach Lute Olson has been selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Olson will officially be enshrined on Nov. 24 in Kansas City at the 2019 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.
The winningest coach in Arizona history and an icon in Tucson, Olson coached NCAA Basketball for 34 years, compiling a record of 780-280. In 24 years at Arizona, Olson went 589-187. During his distinguished career at Arizona, Olson led his team to the 1997 National Championship, four Final Four appearances and 11 Pac-10 Conference championships, while coaching 20 players who earned All-America honors.
Olson will be joined in the Class of 2019 by Indiana’s Calbert Cheaney, Duke’s Shane Battier, Purdue’s Terry Dischinger, Providence’s Ernie DeGregorio, UNLV’s Larry Johnson and Stanford’s Todd Lichti, along with former coaches Homer Drew and the late Rick Majerus.
Already a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Olson will now join the best to ever play and coach collegiately. Olson, who retired from Arizona after the 2008-09 season, compiled a career winning percentage of .736. In his 24 years at Arizona, Olson was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times (1986, ’88, ’89, ’93, ’94, ’98, 2003) and also guided Arizona to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons.
Within the Pac-10 Conference, few, if any, dominated the league the way Olson did. Arizona’s leader went 321-101 in conference games for a .764 winning percentage. Of coaches in the league with 10 or more seasons, Olson’s winning percentage is second only to UCLA’s John Wooden. His 327 conference victories are the most by any league coach. Wooden, with 304 victories, is the only other coach in the history of the conference to have more than 300 career wins in league play. Olson was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor in 2009.
Not only did Olson win at an eye-popping rate throughout his collegiate career, he also prepared his players for the next level at an unprecedented level. In his collegiate career, Olson produced 53 NBA Draft picks, including 32 at Arizona.
Olson began his career at Long Beach State in 1973 and went 24-2 in his first and only season there. Olson then took over the Iowa program and went 167-91 in nine seasons with the Hawkeyes. He led the program to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances in his final five seasons, including a Final Four spot in 1980.
Olson’s 780 wins rank 12th among NCAA Division 1 men’s coaches all-time. His five Final Four appearances are tied for eighth all-time in college basketball.
Olson is technically already a member of the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as he was included in the inaugural class in 2006 as a previous member of the Naismith Hall of Fame. However, Olson was never formally inducted into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, which will now happen in November. He will join former Wildcat Sean Elliott in the Hall of Fame. Elliott was inducted last year.
The University of Arizona provided this information.