TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Fans made their way to the stands inside the McKale Center to honor Coach Lute Olson Sunday.
Susan was of the several dozen. She traveled from Maryland just to honor the late coach.
”He has been my hero. I remember thinking he had a long life, a respectable life. Everybody loved Lute Olson and I was one of those fans," she said.
She was in the stands when Coach Olson brought home the National Championship in 1997.
”I brought my ’97 seat cushion, and my ’97 pom-pom and my 97 t-shirt,” she said as she displayed them. “Lute Olson put Arizona basketball on the map--just no doubt about it.”
She wasn’t the only fan in the stands who loved Coach Olson.
Betsy and Therese remembered the man who built a community on and off the court.
”He was always approachable which is so vital to the community. When the cats won the title back in ’97— there was a sort of winners euphoria that brought a certain power, strength, and generosity among all of the people who lived here,” said Betsy.
Therese came into McKale Center with shoes in hand.
“I only wear these shoes in McKale center and he signed them. This has Lute's autograph on it," said Therese.
She even got a tattoo of a piece of advice Coach Olson gave her years ago.
”One time I was talking to Coach and it had been a hard game the night before a couple of years ago against Gonzaga. I said, 'Coach what would you have done if you were the coach?' and he said, 'Make baskets,' and I live that," said Therese.
Fans left with a feeling of pride after many comforting moments, memories, and even a few laughs.
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