cbs reported today that lute olson, despite stepping down for the year, still comes to work every day, talks to the players but refuses to talk to interim coach o'neill. apparently he and o'neill don't get along and lute will be back next year as the head coach and o'neill will be sent packing. does anyone else find this very bizarre? lute needs to take time off for personal reasons, then why is he coming in to work every day and mettling with the affairs of the team?
Lute seems to have his share of quirks. I recall him making a huge deal about one of his players not being named conference player of the week, and also his media campaign to put down Redick's accomplishments and boost his own shooter, Salim Stoudamire, (who was also excellent).
Did the reasons for this year's sabattical ever become clear? Something to do with his divorce?
Lute's impending divorce threatened to get ugly back at the beginning of the season. The word around Tucson was that the present Mrs. Olson did not want to be seen as the "bad guy" but with Lute being held in the highest esteem by the locals, she was bound to play the villain. Apparently, she's the cause of the marital friction. Luther did not want the press zeroing in on him and shadowing the team's season. The death of his first wife, Bobbi, in 2001 did have a deep effect on the entire program and the city of Tucson. I remember seeing the "Do it for Bobbi" billboards all over Minneapolis during the Final Four.
It's a shame that Lute is angry with O'Neill. What was O'Neill supposed to do? As much as the Wildcats have struggled this year, they have the nucleus of a great team, still young and likely a real contender next year. Jordan Hill shows some great ability; Jerryd Bayless is definitely one of the very best point guards in the country, top 5 for sure; Chase Budinger just needs to learn to pick his spots and quit being passive; Nic Wise lost all that weight and is a real baller.
Maybe Lute is angry at everybody but himself. The blame rests solely on his shoulders and maybe it's just too heavy. That's my 2 cents.
Still don't understand the friction. Is Lute mad that O'Neill is doing OK with the team?It's a shame that Lute is angry with O'Neill. What was O'Neill supposed to do?
I thought I had heard that Lute wanted to come back two or three weeks ago to be able to coach the rest of the season, but O'Neill and some of the staff thought it would be better to ride the rest of the year out as is. I could be wrong, however. If this is the case, though, then I could see where the friction has come from. Kevin wanting to finish out as the head man, as he is now settled in and comfortable (and, mostly likely, happy) with the position, and Lute deciding he's ready to take back his job.
Kind of a messy situation. Too bad these guys are throwing away years of coaching and friendship together over egos...
"Duke is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you don't pass up on." -Amile Jefferson
From fairly unimpeachable sources in Tucson: Lute's behavior is at the root of his marital problems. Passing along the story would probably violate DBR's rumor policy, so I'll just say that the alleged behavior was quite remarkable. As for friction with O'Neill, it might have something to do with the fact that there is a growing sense in town that making O'Neill the heir apparent was very premature. No one is impressed with the job he's done, given that the team has two likely lottery picks in Bayless and Budinger. Bayless is probably gone this year -- top five in the draft -- but Budinger has had an uneven enough year that he might be back to try it again with another freshman phenom guard, Brandon Jennings.
Plenty of blame to go around, and it is not surprising that egos are the core of the problem.
Lute's marriage was his reach into corporate "royalty", despite the millions he makes, his second wife was by far the more financially secure. She did not prompt the divorce, and reports are that she did not want the divorce.
O'Neill was hired because Arizona had faltered over the last few years under Olsen. O'Neill was a move somewhat forced on Olsen, and was hired to try to get the Cats to play some defense. O'Neill had head coaching experience and was no doubt promised a real shot at the top spot if Olsen were to retire.
I would love to hear the full story. Olsen clearly misses the spotlight, and doesn't like the thought he was so easily replaced. Strangely, O'Neill has bonded better with the team. What does this say about Olsen, as O'Neill isn't considered a players' coach.
O'Neill has an incredible ego, and I doubt he will easily let go.
I looked into the Lute marriage situation when it came up earlier. I mean, you have to have some common sense about how you arrange your life.
His bride, the former Christine Toretti, is the CEO of an oil exploration company, serves on a number of corporate boards, and is very active in not-for-profit and charitable organizations. She is a political wheeler-dealer for Republicans and even serves as the National Committeewoman for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania? Christine also has three teenage sons (maybe older now?) to place a further demand on her time.
Lute married Christine when he was 68 (he is now 73) and she was 45. Did it occur to him at the time that he might like a spouse who was actually around and with whom he could spend time? Like in the few waking hours when he is not being a seventy-something college basketball coach?
Maybe we are reading too much into this... Could the reason they don't talk be because Olsen doesn't want to interfere with the "coaching" aspect of the team?
Too bad Dean still speaks to RoyBoy.
the relationship between K and Gaudet was never the same when K returned
1st wife Bobbie is actually Bobby,
2nd wife Christine is actually Christian,
and Lute, I always wondered about the name Lute.
What we have is a true scandal, Lute is actually a woman, who dressed as a man because she wouldn't get a chance as woman coaching Div I men, and she wasn't good enough to coach against Pat Summit.
The Arizona AD is afraid to make the fraud public.
Now to figure out the real reason for the leave of abence ...
Moderators, feel free to move this post to Off Topic, since it isn't about Duke BB.
Curious about DBRers about Lute returning to AZ.
Personally, ....he never left. And truly undermined the program currently not under his command. Shame, shame, shame. All of this doesn't leave a 'good taste in my mouth.'
Look forward to other posters.
I had not paid much attention to what was happening, but ran across this story in Sports Illustrated:
Just a paragraph from the two page article:
behind the scenes the program is awash in dysfunction. Over the last few weeks, Olson has been making almost daily appearances in the basketball office, yet he and O'Neill have barely spoken since the day he took his initial leave of absence. The silence between them does not necessarily result from personal animosity. When Olson took his leave, O'Neill told him that he would give Olson his space, and that he was available any time Olson wanted to talk. Perhaps Olson is just trying to be courteous and give O'Neill his own space so he can coach the team. Perhaps O'Neill has sent signals he doesn't really want to hear from him.
Regardless, the rift has made life difficult for everyone in the program.
For Zona's sake with Olson back Bayless will probably stay one more year, but his handing the program over to O'Neil when Olson really does walk away for good might have too rethink that. I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin is asked to take his walking papers.
#2 Duke (27-5) #15 Belmont CBS 7:10 PM 3/20/08
One way of understanding what Lute is doing is forcing this outcome, on behalf of the UA fan base. O'Neill has a shoddy track record as head coach, which has only been reinforced by this year's full dress rehearsal for taking the helm at UA. It was premature to make him the heir apparent, and Lute undoubtedly is trying to fix that.