Lute Olson Leaving Arizona. Gaddy To Follow?
By Bruin Basketball Report
The Silver Fox Leaving Arizona...Again.
Lute Olson is stepping down as head coach of the Wildcats.
“This was not a decision that was made lightly,” Olson said in a news release. “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.”
Olson, 74 years-old, compiled a career record of 780-280. He coached his Wildcats to the Final Four in 1988, 1994, 1997 and 2001, winning the 1997 NCAA championship.
Associate head coach Mike Dunlap will reportedly be named interim head coach for the rest of this season.
Olson took a leave of absence last year, citing personnel reasons. At the time the team was taken over by Kevin O'Neill, then associate head coach, who was introduced subsequent to Olson's leave as the choice as his eventual successor. However due to an apparent falling out between the two, O'Neill left the program over the summer.
Since announcing his return to the Wildcat head coaching job, Olson had been successful in convincing star Chase Budinger to returning for his junior season. On the recruiting end, Bellarmine Prep star guard Abdul Gaddy chose to re-commit to Arizona, citing he had always wanted to play for Coach Olson.
With the departure of Olson before the November national letter of intent signing period, Gaddy now has the opportunity to weigh his collegiate options once again.
Prior to verbally committing to Arizona over the summer, Gaddy had also been considering UCLA, Memphis, and Washington.
UCLA already has a star-studded 2009 class of forwards Reeves Nelson, Brendan Lane, Tyler Honeycutt, and center Anthony Stover, and the addition of the five-star Gaddy would help complete the class.
The Bruins are still pursuing guard Michael Snaer, however, his recruitment has taken some time, and perhaps Gaddy, a player who can play both the point and shooting guard positions may be a better fit for the Bruins in their future plans.
Gaddy and his family told the Tucscon Citizen newspaper this afternoon that they are considering all options at this point.
(photo credit: Seattle PI)