Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes
March 5, 2003
Well, the word has already gotten out and obviously I'm thrilled about the approaching wedding. It's planned as indicated as a very, small, private thing on the 12th of April. The timing, for an obvious reason, is after the season is over. I couldn't be happier. I feel very fortunate. Christine (Toretti) will be here this weekend for the games on Thursday and Saturday, and the banquet on Sunday. It will give a lot of people the opportunity to meet her that haven't already done so. It will be a special weekend for her to be in here.
Does this mean that this will be my last year? No. Christine is looking forward to being a part of Arizona basketball and shares my excitement about the prospects for the next year and beyond. So just to put and end to any of those rumors, those rumors are totally false.
She will be keeping her house in Pennsylvania. When I'm not involved with camps, recruiting, and representing the University of Arizona as I have always done, I will certainly be spending a lot of time in Indiana, Pa.
You're not in line for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania job, are you?
I don't know that the job is open, nor am I sure that my resume is strong enough to be considered for the position (smiles).
Will you be relocating to Pennsylvania at some point ... even after basketball?
She'll be keeping her home there and will be here during the school year. We're still working those details out, but my expectation would be that, as far as the school year is concerned, nothing will change here. I am involved in running our camps here during the better part of the month of June. Recruiting starts the eighth of July and for that I am usually out east, midwest, west, south, or wherever I need to be. That part will not change. It just may be that instead of leaving from Tucson, I may be leaving from Pittsburgh.
Would you have preferred the news come out later?
No. I think the timing is great. There has been a lot of speculation, certainly from her end. The thing that both of us wanted was that it would not be a distraction to the team and the season. It couldn't come at a better time. The Pac-10 title is wrapped up. We have the two games this week that are very important, but a week from now it won't be an issue.
How do you feel about the fact that so many people are interested in your personal life?
It's wonderful that we have the type of support in this community and this state that we do, and from the University of Arizona alums. That's a real compliment to the program that has been built here over the last 20 years.
Christine faces the same thing, frankly, in Pennsylvania, as the national Republican Committeewoman from Pennsylvania. She's the chairperson of the Higher Education Committee in Pennsylvania, so she has to deal with the same thing there. I just take it as a very nice compliment from our fans that they would have that kind of interest in me beyond the basketball court. This is such a happy occasion that I am happy to share it with people.
Do you know how many hearts you've broken?
I know my own heart and know I'm very happy. I don't have any control over the other hearts.
Where did you two meet?
We met at the NCAA Foundation dinner last April in Atlanta. Cedric Dempsey asked me to speak to that group. It's really a very high-powered group. He just wanted me to come there and talk about the semifinals the next day being that I knew quite a bit about the four teams involved. (Dempsey's wife) June arranged for me to sit next to Christine because we were the only two single people at the dinner. June called Christine yesterday and said she was expecting a finder's fee (laughter). So that was how we met.
Does she plan to keep her job?
She is the CEO of (S.W. Jack Drilling in Indiana, Pa.) the gas and oil drilling company, but she's not involved in day-to-day operations because of all of her duties from a political standpoint and she's very active in the young president's organization and things like that. She oversees the company, but she isn't involved in the day-to-day operation, so that's not a factor.
Are you concerned about people's thoughts about you and a new wife, especially with Bobbi's impact on the program?
I really rely more on my family for that, and the interesting thing from my family is that they all said that we want you to be happy. Bobbi and I spent a lot of time together recruiting, on team trips, everything. That has made my adjustment a lot harder, frankly, than had it been a situation where we had not been together so much. It's been a very difficult three years and three months. When I talked with my family about it, they sad, 'dad, we want you to be happy and we can see the difference that Christine has made in your life.' They are the ones that I am concerned about. What other people think, they have to think, but life goes on.
Coach, does this give your recruiting opponents more ammunition?
They've been saying I'm going to retire for the last 15 years. Despite all of the negativism we've dealt with there, this next class will be rated No. 1 in the country, so we'll just continue to deal with it.
Do you have any interest in politics?
No, I've been involved in politics for 47 years (laughter). I wouldn't want to deal with that end of it. I told her I'd be happy walking four steps behind her carrying her briefcase for the political end of it.
Did you have to change your voter registration?
I'm registered as an independent, but my independence has probably been shaken at this point.
Can you speak to the year that you had to date...Hall of Fame, great run so far and now this:
The year has been an unbelievable year with this team and the way they are playing. With everything else, including the Hall of Fame, it's been highlighted by this announcement. I've really been blessed with a great year.
Is Christine a basketball fan?
Well, it's interesting that night (first meeting) when one of the NCAA ladies that seated her said, 'Boy, you're going to owe me big time.' Christine said, 'Well, how is that?' 'Lute Olson is going to be sitting next to you.' And Christine says, 'Who is Lute Olson.' (laughter) Yeah, she's really followed us very closely. (more laughter)
Her youngest son plays hockey, so a lot of her schedule is based on whether he is playing hockey and where. She definitely has her priorities right. I said I was very happy to take the second rung on the totem pole after her boys, and that's the way it should be.