Lute Olson Retirement Ceremony
Aug. 8, 2009
Brian Jeffries, Radio Voice of the Wildcats
'Nobody has done more for the city of Tucson, the University of Arizona, the state of Arizona than Lute Olson.'
'Under Lute Olson, we have built the greatest fan base in college basketball.'
Jim Livengood, University of Arizona Director of Athletics
'He simply cared about making a difference, and he made sure the rest of us cared about making a difference.'
'People ask me all the time about Lute Olson, and the one word that comes to mind is `class'. He is a class act. He embodies the definition of the word. Nobody loves their family more than Lute Olson. The phrase `family first' is a Lute Olson trademark.'
'Lute Olson is exactly what being a Wildcat is all about.'
Dr. Robert Shelton, University of Arizona President
'Lute Olson is the greatest coach and leader of men in the history of college basketball.'
Bob Walkup, Mayor of Tucson
'Some words that come to mind when you think of Coach Olson's legacy: brilliance, talent, performance and magic. There is a certain magic about today. Today is a day that we will never forget. It's rare that so many people can get together and celebrate the career of such a special man.'
'We thank you for what you have done for this university and for this city, making it the best city in the country.'
Sean Miller, University of Arizona Head Basketball Coach
'This group of former players is second to none. It took an amazing coach, an amazing man, to develop the immense talent sitting on the floor today.'
'For eighteen years, eighteen basketball seasons, Coach Olson led the entire basketball world in winning percentage. He went to four final fours, including winning it all in 1997. I want to ask Coach how it felt driving home from McKale for four straight seasons and never lose, 71 games in a row. The thing I admire most and would make me the proudest as a head coach was I sat in the room last night and listened to these great players speak so highly of their former coach.'
Sean Elliot, Arizona Letterman, 1985-89
'He was the first coach to be critical of me. He was the first coach to give me tough love. He was the first coach to say if I didn't play hard, I wasn't that good. He was the first coach that said if I didn't rebound, I wasn't going to play.'
'When you talk about influential people in my life, I put my mother and Bobbi Olson on the same pedestal.'
'There's nothing, no championships, no accolades, nothing that can replace what I, or anyone else, learned during their time with Coach Olson.'
'I don't want anyone to forget what he has done for all of us. Not just those of us that played under him, but all of us.'
'I never played one minute on the court with Pete Williams, but every time I see him we hug and it's like we played four years together. I see the young kids like Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson and Luke Walton and we treat each other with so much love and respect. That's what Coach Olson has built, a true family that spans across decades.'
Andre Iguodala, Arizona Letterman, 2002-04
'My time here was kind of short, but in my two years with Coach Olson, he turned a boy into a man. He taught me so much about basketball and about life. He has been so influential. I was immature when I came in, and he taught me so much.'
Lute Olson, Former University of Arizona Head Coach
'I personally have had a philosophy that has worked very well for me, and that's that good people find a way to be successful, and bad people find a way to mess things up.'
'I've known Sean (Miller) for a long time. I watched him as a player and as an assistant coach. Jim (Livengood) has come up with a real winner. You're going to be very happy with Sean.'
'From the bottom of my heart and the hearts of my family, thank you for all the great years, and Go Wildcats.'
Post-ceremony press conference quotes
'When they decided to do this in August, I thought, `I'm not sure how many people are going to come back in August for this' but it was really nice to see all the fans, players, coaches and managers.'
'Whether you were on the first team that got this thing rolling or on a team twenty years later, it doesn't seem to matter. We're all a part of the Wildcat family. It's very special.'
'It was overwhelming, the turnout was amazing. I didn't have any idea how many people were going to show up. It was amazing walking in to see how many people were there (6,500 attended).'
Luke Walton, Arizona Letterman,1999-2003
'I thought it was an awesome day, I think one of the greatest things about the University of Arizona is the family, not only the players but his own family. Not all of us played together, but we felt like we did.'
Richard Jefferson, Arizona Letterman, 1998-2001
'The Lute Era is not over, not as long as guys keep accomplishing things. A new era is beginning, but Lute's is not over. You look at Luke (Walton) and he's an extension of John Wooden's Era through his dad. Eras from people like that never end. As all of us continue our careers, our accomplishments and our children will all be an extension of the Lute Olson Era.'
'Talking to Sean Miller last night, defensively he is going to have the guys tough, which is a great foundation. Offensively he says he is going to keep it up-tempo. He is a hard worker and he is a winner.'
Steve Kerr, Arizona Letterman, 1983-88
'For the players that showed up along with the fans, it was a pretty special day. The whole thing was really well done. The fact that there is that bond between us as players spanning generations is the greatest testament to Lute.'