Lute Olson Named Finalist for Naismith Coach of the Year Award

Feb. 19, 2002

TUCSON, Ariz. - University of Arizona head men's basketball coach was named one of 20 finalists for the Naismith Men's Basketball Coach of the Year Award, it was announced Tuesday by Jackie Bradford, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Olson, now in his 19th season at Arizona, has guided the 2001-02 edition of the Wildcats to a 17-8 overall record and 10-5 mark in Pacific-10 Conference play. Entering the year forced to replace 78.8 percent of the points scored from the 2001 national runner-up, Olson pieced together a lineup from just nine scholarship players, including six freshmen, that has posted a 7-5 record against ranked opponents to date this season.

After being unranked in the preseason, Arizona opened the season by defeating No. 2 Maryland and No. 5 Florida in the opening weekend of the college basketball season at the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic in New York City. Since that time, the Wildcats have been nationally ranked in both major college basketball polls.

The Naismith Men's College Basketball Coach of the Year Award will be presented on Friday, April 5, 2002, as part of the Naismith Awards program. The program, now in its 34th year, was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Olson and the 14th-ranked Wildcats (17-8 overall, 10-5 Pac-10) are next in action on Wednesday, Feb. 20, against Arizona State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on Fox Sports Net Arizona.

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