Olson Returns

Jan. 16, 2001

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona coach Lute Olson was back at work, returning topractice two weeks after his wife's death.

He said he decided to rejoin the No. 17 Wildcats on Monday after speakingwith his children, the Tucson Citizen reported.

'We just felt the biggest problem for me was having too much time bymyself,' the coach said in Monday's newspaper.

Bobbi Olson, the coach's wife of 47 years and a mother figure to players whohad come to Arizona in his 17 years at the school, died Jan. 1 after a two-yearfight with ovarian cancer.

Olson said his former players also asked him to return because 'what theteam needed now was a stable situation because there had been a lot of pressureon them and there has been a tremendous amount of pressure on (associate headcoach Jim Rosborough) and the staff.'

Arizona (10-5) was 3-3 under Rosborough. The Wildcats lost at Connecticutwhen Olson stayed behind to be with his wife for a chemotherapy treatment.

On Dec. 30, just before Arizona played Mississippi State in the championshipgame of the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Olson announced he was taking an indefiniteleave. Arizona lost for the first time in the 16-year history of itstournament. Two days later, Bobbi Olson died.

The Wildcats, the country's No. 1 team in the preseason, went on to wintheir Pac-10 opener against California, then lost at home to then-No. 2Stanford. Last weekend, Arizona had a pair of one-sided victories at WashingtonState and Washington.

Olson will be back on the sidelines when the Wildcats play No. 24 SouthernCalifornia at McKale Center on what used to be known as Lute Olson Court. Ithas been renamed Lute and Bobbi Olson Court.

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