Olson Will Return to Arizona

Famed Wildcats coach's personal leave to end before next season
By Doug Sweeney,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2008 10:01 PM CDT
Arizona coach Lute Olson watches his team practice for the NCAA Midwest Regional basketball tournament in this March 15, 2007 file photo in New Orleans. Olson said Thursday night he would extend his leave...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – University of Arizona fans will have the man whose name is on their court back on the floor  as Lute Olson will return to coach Wildcats next season. The 73-year-old had been on personal leave since November; the young team he left behind as put up an 18-13 record in his absence under interim coach Kevin O'Neill. "We are delighted that Lute will be rejoining the program," said athletic director Jim Livengood, reports the Associated Press.

Olson had given only limited information about the reasons for his leave: at the time he departed he released a statement saying it wasn't a "medical scare," but in today's statement he said he had, "a medical condition that was not life-threatening, but serious enough to require time away from my coaching responsibilities." Olson, with 780 wins in 34 years, has led UA to four Final Four appearances and one national title in his 24 years there.