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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Olson will definitely return next year

    Arizona mens basketball coach Lute Olson, left, sits with interim head coach Kevin ONeill. 

    Arizona men’s basketball coach Lute Olson, left, sits with interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. 

    Lute Olson will return to his position as head coach of the Arizona men’s basketball team at the conclusion of the current season and serve through his contract which ends in 2011, Arizona Athletics Director Jim Livengood announced in a press release today.

    Olson cited “”a medical condition that was not life-threatening, but serious enough to require time away from my coaching responsibilities”” as the reason for his season-long leave of absense that began Nov. 4, Olson said in the press release.

    Olson said in a Nov. 4 press release sent out by a public relations firm in Phoenix that the leave was not because of a “”health scare.””

    “”I know there has been a lot of speculation about my situation,”” Olson said. “”I’m glad we can clear the air, but the most important thing right now is the team. All of our effort and attention should be on these student-athletes and their efforts to advance to the NCAA Tournament.””

    “”I am very eager to be back doing what I love, which is coaching this team,”” Olson said. “”I appreciate everyone’s support during this period and want to thank (interim head coach) Kevin O’Neill for the great job he’s done in my absence.””

    Livengood praised O’Neill for his assistance as well, saying O’Neill “”has handled a very difficult situation with tremendous poise.””

    Olson, 73, has made the announcement two days before the Wildcats begin play in the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament in Los Angeles against Oregon State.

    “”We are delighted that Lute will be rejoining the program,”” Livengood said. “”He is one of the true legends of collegiate coaching, and his return is something that I know will be embraced by everyone who cares about our basketball program.””

    Read tomorrow’s Arizona Daily Wildcat for more coverage on this story.

    – Arizona Daily Wildcat

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