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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Welcome to Assistant Coach U

Michael Ignatov
Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona meets California in an NCAA basketball game at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz., Thursday, March 5, 2009. On a night that Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson was honored at half-time, the Wildcats went on to lose 83-77, extending their losing streak to four.

If you want to be part of an institution that sends robots to Mars or point guards to the NBA, the UA might be for you.

During the quarter-century as the head coach of the Arizona men’s basketball team, Lute Olson built a legacy that became known, if only by nickname, as Point Guard U.

Steve Kerr, Jason Terry and Mike Bibby are just a few examples from the past. Senior Nic Wise, who played for Olson his freshman season, is the current Point Guard U representative.

Olson coached guards to do well in McKale Center, and to do even better at the next level. In turn, this has led to landing big-name recruits who play the same position, so that the tradition may continue.

But something that is often overlooked is the fact that assistant coaches have done the same thing under Olson: Learn from the experienced “”Silver Fox,”” then go on and move up the ladder of success in the basketball world.

Point Guard U is also Assistant Coach U.

Let’s take a look at some of Olson’s past assistant coaches, and what they’re doing as the 2009-10 season begins:

Kevin O’Neill. UA assistant coach from 1986-89 and the Wildcats’ interim head coach in 2007-08; currently head coach at USC.

Russ Pennell. Hired to be Olson’s assistant before Olson’s retirement, then became the interim head coach in 2008-09; currently head coach at Grand Canyon University.

Mike Dunlap. Appointed Olson’s associate head coach before Olson retired prior to last season; currently the associate head coach at Oregon.

Reggie Geary. A former player under Olson, he had an eight-year pro career, handled UA basketball operations in 2005-06 and was the head coach of the Anaheim Arsenal D-League team before becoming a UA assistant coach last season; currently an assistant coach at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

Matt Brase. Olson’s grandson was a UA player from 2003-05, then worked as an administrative assistant and video coordinator before becoming an assistant coach for Pennell; currently an assistant coach for Pennell at GCU.

Josh Pastner. Olson’s most famous walk-on was Arizona’s lead recruiter from 2002-2008; currently the head coach at Memphis.

Miles Simon. The Most Outstanding Player of the Wildcats’ lone national championship in 1997, Simon became an assistant coach under Olson before volunteering as a coach for his high school, Mater Dei Academy; currently a Pacific 10 Conference broadcaster for Fox Sports Network.

Jim Rosborough. Olson’s recruiter for nine years at Iowa, and was with the Wildcat staff from 1989-2007; currently the associate head coach at Pima Community College.

Jack Murphy. Spent eight years as a UA team manager, recruiting coordinator, administrative assistant and video coordinator from 1998-2006 before becoming an advanced scout for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets for three years; currently an assistant coach under Pastner at Memphis.

Jay John. Olson’s assistant coach from 1998-2002 before becoming Oregon State’s head coach until 2008; currently an assistant at Cal.

— Lance Madden is a journalism senior. He can be reached


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