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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Olson holds press conference

    Lute Olson addresses the media for the first time since his season-long leave of absence that started Nov. 4, today in McKale Center. Olson said Kevin ONeill will not return as Olsons assistant next season.
    Lute Olson addresses the media for the first time since his season-long leave of absence that started Nov. 4, today in McKale Center. Olson said Kevin O’Neill will not return as Olson’s assistant next season.

    Lute Olson held his first press conference since announcing his leave of absence Nov. 4 and extending it for the rest of the season Dec. 6, this afternoon in McKale Center. The press conference was televised live on FSNA and lasted about 45 minutes.

    Olson said Kevin O’Neill, who was the interim head coach for the Arizona men’s basketball team during Olson’s season-long leave of absence, will not return as Olson’s assistant next season.

    “”I said, ‘Do you want to be an assistant for three more years or five more years?'”” Olson said. “”He said, ‘No.'””

    Olson said O’Neill’s preference would be a mid-level college basketball program or an assistant in the pros.

    O’Neill is on vacation with his wife, Roberta, Olson said.

    “”He won’t be in the staff,”” Olson said, “”but if he doesn’t land a job then the university will be responsible for the second year of his contract.””

    O’Neill – who, in December, was named Olson’s successor when he retires – said at a season-end press conference last week that he planned to honor his two-year commitment to the university but that he was open to other jobs in the NBA or in college.

    All assistant coaches at Arizona are on year-to-year contracts, said UA athletics director Jim Livengood.

    Olson said the reason for his leave was due to anxiety and added that his family doctor cleared him before he announced his return to the program. He said he was instructed by Livengood and senior associate athletic director Kathleen “”Rocky”” LaRose not to speak to the media during his leave.

    Olson said he traveled to Phoenix and to San Diego this past weekend and spoke to the parents of Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger and that the players have not made a decision about whether they will enter the NBA draft.

    “”Jerryd is a very intelligent kid,”” Olson said. “”Chase is a very intelligent kid, but it’s not their parents’ life, it’s not my life, and no one should make the decision for them.””

    Read more about Olson’s press conference in tomorrow’s Arizona Daily Wildcat.

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