The state of Arizona and college basketball lost a legend Thursday night with the passing of former University of Arizona head basketball coach Lute Olson.
He was 85.
The Hall of Famer won 741 career games, including a National Championship in 1997 at Arizona. That team is still the only one in history to beat three one-seeds on their way to the title.
Olson, who spent 24 years at UofA, is one of five head coaches to win 20 games in 20 consecutive seasons.
Dozens of former players, coaches, media members and fans took to social media to honor “Cool Hand Lute.”
The University of Arizona is deeply saddened by the loss of Lute Olson. He will forever be a prolific member of the Wildcat community and we will continue to honor his legacy.
Forever a teacher, a leader, a Wildcat.
Sept. 22, 1934-August 27, 2020
📸 @azathletics pic.twitter.com/qH8rng1Xxg
— #BearDownMaskUp (@uarizona) August 28, 2020
Wildcat. Legend. Icon. Lute.
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) August 28, 2020
It’s hard to put into words how much Lute Olson meant to me.He was an amazing coach & a wonderful man. Being part of the U of A basketball family changed my life forever.I will never forget Coach O, those awesome nights at McKale and all my teammates. Thank you Coach- I love you! pic.twitter.com/GUvtSFr9Lm
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) August 28, 2020
It’s rare that a man is a Hall of famer and still under appreciated. I’ll always feel like you never got the credit you deserved as a leader, family man, grandfather, coach and as a mentor. I love you Coach O 🐻⬇️
— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) August 28, 2020
We are saddened by the passing of former Arizona Men’s Basketball head coach Lute Olson. Coach Olson was the recipient of the #WoodenAward Legends of Coaching in 2001.
📷: Bruce McClelland / Arizona Daily Star pic.twitter.com/80S3HgwG3W
— John R. Wooden Award (@WoodenAward) August 28, 2020
I told Denny Crum I was coming to Louisville. Midnight Lute called. We talked for 3 hrs! He Changed my mind, then changed my life! Never truly in my eyes got the credit he deserved. It’s okay though! Love you Papa Lute!! 🙏🏽🙏🏽
— Damon Stoudamire (@Iambiggie503) August 28, 2020
Thank you coach for taking a chance on some skinny kid from Chandler,Az. I owe my whole basketball career to you and what you taught me. I’m gonna miss you. pic.twitter.com/yRIBVKM137
— Channing Frye (@channingfrye) August 28, 2020
Lute Olson is Arizona basketball. Lute is Tucson. Didn’t matter what side of town you grew up on, Foothills or the South Side, he brought so many Tucsonans together every year with his teams. He is easily the most beloved person in Tucson.
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) August 28, 2020
I’m in disbelief right now.
— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) August 26, 2020
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) August 28, 2020
— Jason “The Jet” Terry (@jasonterry31) August 28, 2020
Our hearts are heavy. Rest In Peace, Lute. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/8sq8WwZrlj
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) August 28, 2020
Hall of Famer, national champion, and a great teacher, leader and motivator. Coach Olson was truly a coach’s coach. He was one of the best to ever do it. Rest is peace, Coach Olson. https://t.co/5cycAy0Z3A
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 28, 2020
My heart & prayers go out to Hall of Famer LUTE OLSON ex architect of the @APlayersProgram / he was a pleasure to cover as his teams always played hard & together . They played with one goal to bring success to the Wildcats . What Lute did at Arizona was #awesomebaby
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) August 26, 2020
Coach Olson – I owe everything to you for welcoming a young SID to the Arizona basketball family. You took me on the ride of my life, taught me what being a professional is all about & because of you, I have lifelong friends, unforgettable memories & the family I love today.
— Brett Hansen (@bretthansen5) August 28, 2020
Always wanted to play for Lute Olson!!! RIP to a real legend!
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) August 28, 2020