We’re experiencing Lute Olson fatigue around here lately, but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t put a period on this story by reporting what Olson’s physician revealed to the world in a press conference today. Dr. Steven Knope stated that Olson was being treated for severe depression and impaired judgment for several months and had not responded favorably when an MRI taken early last week showed that Olson had endured a stroke in his frontal lobe at some point within the past year. Dr. Knope impressed upon Olson to retire from coaching, which he did last Thursday. From the East Valley Tribune:
“He is frankly devastated,” Knope said. “This is something that is simply beyond his control.” […] Knope said he had advised Olson in recent weeks to step down from his head coaching position, saying Olson “just couldn’t put the pieces together.” Knope decided to request an MRI for Olson because he wasn’t responding to therapy and medication for depression. “He knew something was wrong, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it,” Knope said.
(Photo Credit: Tucson Citizen)
The doctor stated that Olson was otherwise in good health (he has a familial tremor and atrial fibrillation that are being treated), but there were concerns that additional stress from coaching could lead to more problems with his already-compromised judgment. For Arizona fans, they can finally move on and put the mess Olson left in his wake behind them. Already the Class of 2009 recruits are looking elsewhere, and the new interim coach was last seen stalking the sidelines in AAU ball, but there is a strong enough foundation there for continued success supposing the right person (Mark Few? John Calipari? Jamie Dixon?) is hired to lead it.
Oh, and stay well, Lute. Strokes are no joke. We hope he can continue to live a life of freedom and facility.