The coronavirus pandemic is preventing the Arizona Wildcats from commemorating the late Lute Olson in grand fashion, but his presence will be felt every time they step on the court this season.
On Wednesday, the program unveiled the jersey patches they plan to wear this year—a black circle with “LUTE” in white lettering.
Throwback uniforms are rumored to be a possibility too, but probably not until next season.
“Our 2020-21 team will wear this patch honoring Coach Olson with a great sense of responsibility,” head coach Sean Miller said in a statement. Coach Olson’s leadership led the program to unprecenteded excellence, both on and off the court. That success united the Southern Arizona community, Wildcat fans and Alumni with our great university in so many wonderful ways.
“Coach O also created a basketball family filled with generations of great players, coaches and teams that remains strong today. We hope that our 2020-21 team can continue to bring joy and pride to all those that support us. We will play every game to WIN, but we also aspire to play an unselfish and hardworking style of basketball that Coach Olson would appreciate. We look forward to the challenge of representing Coach O’s Legacy.”
Olson died in August at age 85. He posted a 589-187 record in 24 seasons (1983-2007) at Arizona, the highest winning percentage in school history among the head coaches who coached more than 100 games.
A seven-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Olson guided the Wildcats to 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 conference titles, four Final Fours and the 1997 national championship.
He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 as one of only three coaches at the time to record 29 or more 20-win seasons.