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Lute Olson Named 2013 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s College Basketball

This news story was published on December 12, 2012.
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ATLANTA (Dec. 12, 2012) – Hall-of-Fame coach Lute Olson has yet another accolade to add to a long list of career achievements. Today, the Atlanta Tipoff Club named Olson winner of the 2012 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s College Basketball Award.

Created in 1982, the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball Award is presented annually to an individual whose extraordinary efforts have made contributions of outstanding significance and have created a long-lasting positive impact on the game of basketball. The winner displays character, integrity and dignity, and has contributed mightily to the growth, success and viability of basketball. To be eligible, an individual must have been involved with the sport in a capacity related to coaching, broadcasting, college administration or the news media. Curt Gowdy won the inaugural award.

Selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors, Olson will be recognized at the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Naismith Awards Banquet on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in Atlanta. The 2013 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball winner is Pat Summitt. She will be honored alongside Olson.

“I am sincerely honored to be selected as the 2013 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball,” Olson said. “To be included in this distinguished group of men is humbling. Coaching has always been my passion, an extension of who I am. Coaching never felt like work, so to be honored with this award is especially gratifying.”

“Lute Olson’s storied coaching career and long list of achievements speak for themselves, but his off the court endeavors, and devotion to family and players is something that we all strive to emulate,” said Eric Oberman, Atlanta Tipoff Club executive director. “We are a better organization with Lute being a part of the Naismith Awards family.”

Olson is one of just 26 head coaches in NCAA history to win 700 or more games (all divisions), and owns a career record of 780-280. In his 24 years at Arizona, he tallied a mark of 589-187 and guided the Wildcats to 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, four Final Four appearances and won the 1997 NCAA Championship. He was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times, and won 11 Pac-10 Conference titles. Prior to his coaching career at Arizona, Olson held the reigns as head coach at Iowa from 1975 to 1983 where he became the then-winningest coach in school history with a record of 168-90 and took the Hawkeyes to the NCAA Tournament five straight times, including a trip to the Final Four in 1980.

In his collegiate coaching career, Olson produced 55 NBA Draft picks, including 34 at Arizona. In recent years, 14 former Wildcats appeared in the NBA Finals and 11 earned world championship rings. Olson was selected for enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on June 5, 2002 and was inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in 2009.

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