The Debacle in Tucson

I really don't think this coaching situation at the University of Arizona could have been handled any worse.

Looking back at my reporting career, I was at what will go down as Lute Olson's last basketball game. It was a 69-50 loss to Oregon in the first round of the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles.

In that game, to my recollection, Lute made several questionable coaching moves (I'm almost apt to chaclk that up to how much he hated the tournament), looked like a shadow of his fiery self strolling in front of the Wildcats bench and, most notably, had significant trouble stringing together thoughts during his post game press conference.

It then came as no surprise to me that a few months later, he announced that he was taking a medical leave of absence. That's then this whole bizarre saga began, and while it "ended" last Thursday with Jim Livengood's 2-minute-57-second press conference, this saga isn't even close to being over.

With the announcement today by his doctor that Olson suffered a mild stroke at some point in the past year, this bizarre story just takes another strange turn.

The situation, in my mind, could not have been handled any worse by the UA administration. From the initial announcement of the leave, to the silence about the situation on both ends throughout said leave of absence, to the rumors of Lute's divorce, to the turbulent Kevin O'Neill run and right through Thursday's announcement, was all botched.

I'm all for respecting Lute's privacy, and frankly the privacy of anyone going through any sort of personal situation, but when you've got such a public figure who is so beloved by the Tucson area and is hailed as a hero by many in the profession, people are going to want to know at least a small shred of what's going on.

This story is not going away anytime soon...it will take on different shapes and forms as it develops, but it's certainly far from over.

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