Lute on The Streak: ‘I just look forward to the next one’by Anthony Gimino on Mar. 24, 2010, under Sports
Former Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, who attended the introductory press conference for new athletic director Greg Byrne on Wednesday, made his first public comments on the end of the program’s streak of 25 consecutive years in the NCAA Tournament.
Olson began the streak in his second season, 1984-85, and it continued through interim head coaches Kevin O’Neill and Russ Pennell before finally ending this season in coach Sean Miller‘s debut.
“When I first took the job here and the team was 1-17 in the league, I came in with the idea that we wanted to develop a program that would be pretty consistent,” Olson said. “Never did I dream that we would end up with a streak like that.
“The program is in great hands with Sean and his staff. I think they will get their own streak started here pretty soon, and it will be fun to watch that as it goes. …
“I guess when the streak ended, you just think, ‘Wow, that was quite an accomplishment by a lot of outstanding players who came through the program. I just look forward to the next one starting.”
Despite Arizona not being involved, Olson said he has been “peeled” to the coverage of the NCAA Tournament.
“There have just been so many great games,” he said. “The fact that there are 11 different conferences represented in the round of 16 is amazing. I don’t think that has ever happened.
“It sort of tickles me, too, that the Pac-10 and the West have knocked out so many of those Big East people that I kept hearing about all year long, about how it could be an entire Final Four of Big East teams. Some of them took early vacations, in fact.”
Olson is keeping a close eye on 11th-seeded Washington, which takes on No. 2 seed West Virginia in the Sweet 16.
“I love the way Washington is playing. I tell you, they could still be a huge factor, I think, with their quickness and length and shooting ability,” Olson said. “Lorenzo (Romar) has done a great job with those guys.”