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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Olson files for divorce

    Lute Olson filed for divorce from his wife Christine Olson Thursday night in Pima County Superior Court.

    The papers were signed the same day the 24-year UA head coach notified the Arizona athletics department that he will extend his leave of absence for the rest of the year.

    “”It’s all related, and it makes sense,”” said his attorney, Leonard Karp.

    Karp cited “”irreconcilable differences”” as the reason for the divorce.

    “”The marriage is irretrievably broken, and there’s no reasonable prospect of reconciliation,”” he said.

    Karen Duffy, an associate clerk with the clerk of the court in Pima County, confirmed the filing of the divorce papers.

    Although the petition has already been filed and the papers served, there’s still a 60-day minimum waiting time before the divorce becomes official, which Karp called a cooling-off period.

    “”Our hope is that we can sit down and amicably resolve any differences they might have,”” Karp said.

    Christine found out about the divorce while in New York attending meetings as the Republican National Committee woman for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She returned to Tucson Friday instead of meeting Olson in Chicago, where the No. 22 Wildcats play Illinois on Saturday.

    “”Our family has been struggling through a difficult and private matter for some months now,”” Christine said in a statement released by her public relations firm. “”It was our hope that during my husband’s temporary leave of absence, we would be able to focus on our family and successfully address this matter. Unfortunately, it seems that my husband has reached a decision that he is unable to continue our relationship together during this difficult time.

    “”While I am personally devastated I remain committed to my marriage and will continue to support my husband through this difficult time in his life. I have nothing but love and respect for him.””

    Duffy said Christine can contest parts of the divorce papers, which would then be sent to the court to be ruled upon, or the divorce could end amicably. Spouses can contest anything they don’t agree on, which most often includes their plan to distribute assets and liability for outstanding debt, Duffy said.

    The former partners signed a prenuptial agreement at the time of their marriage, Karp said.

    Olson, 73, and the former Christine Toretti got married in April 2003, two years after Olson’s first wife of 47 years, Bobbi, died of ovarian cancer.

    Christine, 50, serves as the chairman and CEO of S.W. Jack Drilling Company headquartered in Indiana, Pa. She also serves on different corporate boards around the nation and fundraises for the Republican Party.

    The divorce likely comes as a surprise for anybody who attended Nov. 10’s CATwalk, an Olson-sponsored event which benefits women’s cancer research in honor of Bobbi.

    Coach Olson missed the event while on his leave of absence, but Christine attended and looked right at home, attending a sponsor lunch and drawing raffle names on the stage after the race.

    She said she talked to Olson by telephone during the lunch and said it was hard for him not to be there.

    “”He’s just getting some things squared away, and he’ll be back,”” she said at the time.

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