Lute Olson steps down as coach at U of A after 25 years

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Retirement announced

TUCSON -Lute Olson announced that he will retire as head coach of the University of Arizona men's basketball team.

"This was not a decision that was made lightly," Olson said. "I've had a wonderful run at The University of Arizona.I leave with a great sense of pride in what we have accomplished here."

UA Athletics Director Jim Livengood said a national search will begin soon for his replacement.

"At this stage in my life, I want to devote my time to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and friends," Olson said."I look forward to watching Wildcat basketball and visiting with my colleagues in the coaching profession.It is time to pass the program on to a younger staff, to transition the university to the next generation of basketball."

"To my family, all of the players who have put on our uniform, our fans in Tucson and all of the great supporters of this basketball program, I offer my heartfelt thanks for your support, and I look forward to reconnecting with each of you," Olson said. " The University Arizona will always be a basketball school. It will continue to flourish."

Olson did miss practice yesterday's practice because he was sick, but hadn't made any comments about leaving the program.

He took a year long leave last season for personal reasons.

Olson was Arizona's head basketball coach for 25 years, starting in 1983 working to make Arizona a elite team in men's baketball. As the head coach he made 25 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, four Final Four appearances, two national championships and one national title.