“It was love at first sight. . . . One day I picked up a basketball, and it never let me go.”
For fifty seasons Lute Olson has been teaching young athletes the skills of basketball---and life. Starting as a high school coach, he worked his way to the top of the basketball world, winning more than a thousand games, a national championship, and a world championship, producing some of the NBA’s biggest stars, and eventually being enshrined in the basketball Hall of Fame.
This is the story of his upbringing in Mayville, North Dakota, where he learned his famous work ethic and survival skills; the telling of the eighteen years it took to finally coach for a major college team; the fond memories of coaching famed players as well as the stories of bitter losses and breathtaking wins. This is his story, from recruiting in the dangerous projects of big cities and the vast farmlands of the Midwest, to finally winning an NCAA championship. It’s the inside-the-locker-room story of many extraordinary emotional moments that will live forever in basketball lore. “Lute! Lute! Lute!” The cheer by which the Arizona fans greet their coach before each game is the story of a man with a lifelong passion for a game. This book will take the reader inside the incredibly popular world of collegiate basketball, as seen through the eyes of a giant of the sport.
But his is far more than a basketball story. Lute’s partner for forty-seven years in building championship programs was his high school sweetheart, Bobbi, whose blueberry pancakes became as widely known in the basketball world as his own full head of white hair. While Lute was the taciturn coach, she became the player’s mother-away-from-home. America got to meet her as she fought her way courtside through cheering fans after Lute’s Arizona team had earned a trip to the Final Four, and on national television he swept her off her feet and the two of them whirled round and round in joy. It is a love story of a couple who together built a sports legend. Lute and Bobbi Olson were a team. The Arizona community loved her almost as much as he did---traditionally at the beginning of each game the Wildcat band greeted them with a cheer. Their almost half-century love affair ended with Bobbi’s death from cancer. Lute explores how he dealt with her death, and how he moved forward to find a new love.
This is the chronicle of one American boy’s dream to become a great basketball coach---his achievements, his coaching strategies, and the wins and losses he faced as boy, man, and coach, but always with one constant in his life: the game of basketball. This is the story of fifty seasons in the life of Lute Olson.