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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Olson decides to remain UA coach

    APRIL 1, 1985 – University of Arizona coach Lute Olson will not pursue the University of Kentucky head basketball-coach position and will remain at the UA.

    “”I feel honored to have been given an opportunity to visit with University of Kentucky officials regarding their vacancy, but have decided to withdraw my name form the list of those being considered,”” Olson said in a statement released yesterday through Dr. Allan Biegel, UA vice president for university relations.

    “”Contrary to some published reports, I was never more than one of several people under consideration and the position was never offered to me,”” Olson said. “”I look forward to continuing my rewarding relationship with our team. The University of Arizona and the people of Tucson and the state.””

    Cedric Dempsey, director of the UA Athletic Department, said he was “”pleased”” that Olson had decided not to pursue the Kentucky vacancy.

    Olson “”enjoys his present lifestyle and the support in the community. He feels at home in Tucson.”” he said.

    Dempsey said he had begun to consider several candidates in case Olson had taken the Kentucky job, but that he had not planned on interviewing until Olson had announced a decision.

    Dempsey added that the UA had not given Olson any extra financial incentives in order to keep him at the UA.

    Steve Olson, Olson’s son, said yesterday that several factors influenced his father’s decision

    “”He didn’t want to move our family. He didn’t want the pressure and he wanted to keep building this program,”” Steve said.

    “”If he wanted the job he could have had it.””

    Joe B. Hall, who held the Kentucky post for 13 years, retired last week after losing to St. John’s in the NCAA tournament.

    Alabama-Birmingham coach Gene Bartow’s decision to put his name back on the list of candidates after withdrawing his name earlier in the week had no bearing on his father’s decision, Steve said.

    Olson’s decision ended a weekend of speculation on whether he would take the job.

    ESPN reported Saturday that Olson had already been offered a contract with about $500,000 in salary, television appearances and other benefits.

    UK Athletic Directory CLiff Hagan denied the ESPN report and that anyone had been offered the job and said a decision was still several days away.

    “”I don’t know where (the ESPN report) came form,”” Hagan told the Associated Press Saturday.

    “”I’d like to (name a coach) by Monday if we have a candidate, but there’s no magic in it. We are still interviewing and we are not ready to make an announcement.””

    Olson, who is in Kentucky for the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, could not be reached.

    Olson had said earlier in last week that he was not going to interview for the Kentucky job, but after an erroneous story Wednesday in The Arizona Daily Star about a possible conflict of interest in the purchase of UA uniforms, Olson said he owed it to himself to apply for the job.

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