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UA president and professor speak on Lute Olson’s legacy

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 21:25:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — “Everyone just had this total respect for that man. He was just fantastic,” said Dr. Ian Pepper, a UA Professor of Environmental Science.

"It's an incredible loss for this university, the conference, the city and the state of Arizona,” said UA President Dr. Robert Robbin.

Robbins, along with Pepper, spoke Friday about the man legendary UA basketball coach, Lute Olson was. They both said the community lost an icon.

"As you look at his career, he's one of, I think, four or five coaches who had 20 wins a year for 20 consecutive seasons. A hall of fame coacher,” said Robbins.

He said Olson was not only a coach but an educator and a mentor, loved by his players and the community.

"He just looked like this atypical basketball coach. He looked like a senator or a businessman or a president. And he was always so dapperly dressed and he had that beautiful silver hair. But, just an incredible individual,” said Robbins.

While Robbins has only been at UA for three years, Pepper was working at the university during Olson's tenure.

"He gave so much pleasure to the community. Simply put, he was revered by the community. Absolutely revered and his impact on the university, I think, will always be remembered. He's certainly going to be one of the most important figures associated with the University of Arizona,” said Pepper.