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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Lute appears at ceremony

    Former UA men’s basketball player Richard Jefferson, left, embraces retired UA men’s basketball coach Lute Olson during the dedication of the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium on Monday evening. Jefferson, currently a forward with the Milwaukee Bucks, was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

    In his first public appearance since retiring in October, Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson attended Monday night’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly dedicated Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

    Olson, who sat next to Jefferson at the sit-down formal dinner, socialized with attendees like boosters, donors and even the current UA men’s basketball team.

    “”I think everyone missed him a lot. It was great just to see him and know that he’s doing OK,”” said UA senior walk-on David Bagga, who spoke with Olson for about 10 minutes. “”I’m just glad he’s here.””

    Olson retired suddenly on Oct. 23 after suffering from a stroke’s effects within the past year, his doctor Steven D. Knope revealed Oct. 28.

    At media day on Oct. 21 – his last public appearance – the 74-year-old Olson appeared upbeat and excited for the upcoming season as Arizona’s head coach.

    “”I’m feeling better,”” Olson said. “”It’s great to see (the team). As soon as I have the OK, I’ll be able to come and watch them.””

    Added Jefferson in his speech: “”Without Lute Olson, none of this would be possible. He really helped me to become a man, positioned me to become successful not only on the basketball court, but also in life.

    “”Those were the best basketball people around that I could’ve been put around,”” Jefferson added.

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