Lute Olson is getting immortalized outside McKale Center.
The statue of the Hall of Fame coach will be located just north of the Jim Click Hall of Champions, and you can see a sketch of what it will look like in this graphic:
“The location of the statue was determined based on a number of factors,” states the UA’s release. “The Eddie Lynch Pavilion Plaza is connected with central campus and the UA mall, which sees the greatest amount of the area's general traffic. That area also sees a large percentage of the basketball gameday traffic. The Plaza also has sufficient room for the potential implementation of additional statues. The south side of McKale was not considered because of potential arena expansion plans in the future.”
The project is estimated to cost roughly $300,000 and it is expected to be completed in March 2018. All former Arizona basketball players will be invited to the unveiling.
Most of the funding will come from private donations (which can be made here), and Steve Kerr and ORB Founder and CEO Marc Herman will be making a sizable contribution.
Kerr, partnering with the Original Retro Brand clothing company, will be selling replicate “Kerr” jerseys and t-shirts, with the royalties will go toward the cost of the statue.
Herman will then match those proceeds.
Here’s how you can get your hands on the Kerr gear:
The Kerr tees will be available exclusively at the McKale Center A-Store from Thursday, Aug. 31 through Sept. 9 and on football game days at various merchandise tent locations. In addition, the online sale of tees will begin on Aug. 31 at BearDownShop.com, Originalretrobrand.com, and UABookstore.com. The replica jerseys will be available on Wednesday, Sept. 20 in store and online. The collection will also be available at select Just Sports locations in Tucson and Phoenix after Oct. 15.
Olson will also be honored prior to Arizona football’s Sept. 22 game against Utah, which happens to be his 83rd birthday.
In a lot of ways, Olson is Arizona basketball. Despite taking over a program that went 4-24 prior to his arrival, Olson turned Arizona into the college basketball powerhouse that it still is today.
Here are some of the things Olson accomplished in Tucson:
1997 National Championship
4 Final Fours
11 Pac-10 Titles
7 Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards
23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (1985-2007)
776 games with perfect hair
Olson was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and he will now be there and outside McKale Center forever.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire