In My Own Words – Lute Olson is part of a big four-hour block of University of Arizona basketball programming on FSN Arizona this Wednesday night. The evening also includes the network's Arizona Wildcats College Hoops Preview at 6:30 p.m. and then the UA basketball team makes its 2006-07 television debut when it takes on University of Victoria at 7:30 p.m. in the final exhibition game before the regular season starts.
Immediately following the game, Qwest Wildcats All Access Pass takes UA fans on a behind the scenes trip with the Wildcats during their recent four-day trip to Vancouver for a series of exhibition games. Sean Mooney and the FSN Arizona cameras were granted exclusive access to the team during the tour and it is all chronicled during this unique 30-minute program. Finally at 10 p.m., an encore presentation of In My Own Words – Lute Olson can be seen.
Here are some of excerpts from In My Own Words – Lute Olson:
How bad was the Arizona basketball program when he arrived in Tucson: "It was bad. I will never forget the first practice. Fundamentally, it was unbelievable. I came into the coaches locker room afterwards and all the assistants were sitting on the benches and they were just rocking back-and-forth like ‘what did he get us into?' It was an unbelievable task that we had to go through. When we would go out recruiting, I would always make the assistants sleep in the bed next to the window, just in case I decided to jump out."
On the 1996-97 Arizona national championship team: "The guys on that team wouldn't want me to say this, but it was not the best team we had at Arizona, but they ended up getting the big prize because they got the momentum going and refused to lose."
On his Hall of Fame induction: "Frankly, after 2001 when I wasn't elected, I thought I would continue to be nominated, but I wouldn't get in… It's a tremendous honor, but I am still not quite used to people referring to me as a Hall of Fame coach because I don't feel any differently than I did before I was inducted."
On his wife Bobbi becoming sick in Budapest, Hungary and the hospital they had to go to: "Unfortunately, we were in a Third World country. The hospital looked like a poorly kept manufacturing building… The worst conditions you can ever imagine. Ninety-something degrees outside, no screens on the windows, no air conditioning, no fans. It was like you were living in a nightmare. When I saw the surgeons come walking out of the operating room, I knew it was not good. You could just tell by people's body language."
What he wants his legacy to be: "It would be to be involved and a contributor in finding a cure for cancer and particularly in the ovarian cancer area. I just hope I can be remembered as somebody who cared passionately about basketball, but more passionately about finding a cure."
His first memory of basketball: "When I was a young kid, if I had two minutes, it was a case of me picking up a ball and doing something with it. Before I really ever knew anything about the game, I just knew about that ball and a hoop and it was fun."
The affect the tragic deaths of his father and brother had on his life: "It's strange how things work out. Had it not been for those tragedies, I am sure I would have probably ended up doing something in Mayville (N.D.) if the farm situation wouldn't have been what I wanted to do. I would have probably ended up going to Mayville State and taking a coaching job or teaching job in one of those farm communities."
What things were like in Iowa during the success: "It got to the point where you couldn't go anywhere… I have said many times, the best thing about Iowa is the fan interest and the worst thing about Iowa is the fan interest."
FSN Arizona, which is celebrating its tenth year on the air, continues to televise the most regional sports action in the state and is the exclusive cable television home of the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Mercury. The network is currently seen in 2.3 million households in Arizona & New Mexico and can also be seen across the country via home satellite services.