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Sports News

Reports: Hall of Fame coach Olson dead at 85

FILE PHOTO: Arizona head coach Lute Olson (R) leaves the court after shaking hands with UCLA's Arron Afflalo (L) following UCLA's 73-69 victory in an NCAA basketball game in Los Angeles, California January 20, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Hall of Fame college basketball coach Lute Olson, who won 776 games over 34 seasons and led the Arizona Wildcats to the 1997 NCAA championship, died Thursday, multiple outlets reported.

He was 85 years old.

In February 2019, Olson was hospitalized in Tucson after suffering what the University of Arizona called a “minor stroke.”

The Olson family reportedly confirmed Lute Olson’s death to numerous college basketball and area reporters.

Olson began his career in Southern California, coaching Long Beach State for the 1973-74 season. He spent the next nine seasons at Iowa -- making the NCAA Tournament each of his final five seasons -- then headed to Tucson, where he built the Wildcats into a national power.

Olson coached Arizona from 1983-2007 and compiled a 589-187 record. His teams made 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and won the 1997 national title.

Olson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. A statue of Olson stands outside McKale Memorial Center, Arizona’s home arena.

Overall, he had a career mark of 776-285 in 34 seasons.

--Field Level Media

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