Friday, April 11, 2008

I wish this were the last word on Lute Olson

But I know it's not going to be.

I don't know how much more I'm going to be posting, and this doesn't exactly qualify as breaking news here. But considering I've spent no small amount of time baiting columnists in this space — even this particular one once or twice, though I've always done so with some hesitation, because I know Greg a little and respect him very much — I wanted to take the opportunity to present a columnist not only writing/doing something good, but brave.

For those who may not know, Olson blackballed Hansen for quite a few years after the city's leading sportswriter had the temerity to call out Olson and the program for letting a player sit in jail (I believe this is the story, but I could be wrong). Olson's megalomania is no recent development; he's been pulling this shit for years. And, after what appeared to be a heartfelt burying of the hatchet with Greg a couple of years back -- lore has it that the patch-up came at the request of Lute's now-late wife, Bobbi, under whose well-deserved halo Lute has lived to this day -- it appears Lute thinks there's cause enough to draw arms again. That's sad, because Greg's one of those writers who only grudgingly gets into it with those he covers. That's not to say he's a sycophant — he's certainly not, as this column proves (as do dozens of others through the years) — but he is clearly more attuned to the kind of column writing that makes people better fans of a program, as opposed to better critics. Furthermore, just about any time Greg actually decides to write something even remotely strident, he gets fucking killed by readers (read the comments after the Olson column, but be sure to take a couple of Advil first). Yeah, maybe the Mariottis of the world get it worse, but they actually deserve it. Greg Hansen has spent the last two-plus decades giving big-league coverage, in terms of the quality of his writing and the respect/gravity he affords his subjects, to the world's biggest college town. He deserves, at the least, a poorly populated e-mail inbox on column days.

I'm actually getting angrier about this as I write, which means that I'm reaching the point where I'll probably just start throwing bombs at Tucson. But I don't want to. I'm exhausted by the entire Lute Olson situation -- he really is the grinch that stole college basketball, at least for me -- and I'm not really interested in slamming my former home because I still like a lot of things about Tucson.

But, seriously, I have no idea how anyone with a shred of intelligence can still be a fan of this program as long as Shakes is at the helm.

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