TUCSON, Arizona — There was a mixture of laughter and tears at McKale Center as former players and loved ones remembered former Wildcat head coach Lute Olson, who passed away a little over a year ago.
"He was always a gentleman," said Kelly Olson, his widow. "So kind, loving, and compassionate to everyone he met."
The tribute, which was open to the public, was delayed due to the ongoing pandemic.
"Lute's favorite comment when he spoke to rotary clubs was you better get your tickets now because they won't be there in a year," said Cedric Dempsey, the UArizona athletic director who hired him away from Iowa back in 1983. "He was right."
One by one, speakers shared memories and reflected on Olson's impact on them and the Tucson community.
"There was no stage too big, no game too big for 'Coach O'," said Jason Terry, a former Pac-10 Player of the Year. "And, that's how we carried ourselves."
"To my great friend and Hall of Fame Coach, to the life we lived, when I get home, I'm going to raise a a glass to you," said friend Paul Weitman. "You will be missed but not forgotten."