"Chances are, of the 500 people who are here, a small percentage of them will ever get to Springfield," said John Doleva, president of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "The love of basketball that's in this room has proven to us that it's a good model to follow."
The 500 in attendance at the El Conquistador Resort Hotel north of Tucson included former players Richard Jefferson, Matt Muehlbach and Justin Wessel. UA president Peter Likins, Athletic Director Jim Livengood, Women's Basketball coach Joan Bonvicini and Volleyball coach Dave Rubio were also among the guests.
"I'm a believer that an honorable, successful athletic program builds the reputation of a university," Likins said. "But winning does not. There are many examples that I won't cite of coaches with winning records who have actually damaged the reputation of their academic institutions. But Lute has such obvious character and he is clearly a principled man that it adds to the reputation of the university as an academic institution."
Prior to addressing the audience, Olson's video taped induction speech was replayed. In the speech he thanked the athletic directors for giving him the opportunity and his past players and coaches from the high school, junior college and college levels who have helped him achieve the Hall of Fame honor. He ended his acceptance speech by thanking his family and particularly his wife Bobbi, who passed away on New Year's Day 2001.
"Bobbi is truly the Hall of Famer in our family," Olson said.