Robert Luther "Lute" Olson (born September 22, 1934) is a retired American men's basketball coach. He was most recently head coach at the University of Arizona for a period of 25 years. He was also head coach at the University of Iowa for 9 years and California State University, Long Beach for one season. Olson was known for player development, and many of his former players have gone on to impressive careers in the NBA after having played under him. On October 23, 2008 Olson announced his retirement from coaching.
Olson was born in Mayville, North Dakota of Norwegian-American parentage, and is a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prior to his tenure with the Arizona Wildcats, Olson coached the University of Iowa and Long Beach State basketball teams, Long Beach City College four years, after having coached high school teams in Mahnomen and Two Harbors, Minnesota, and Anaheim and Huntington Beach, California.
In his first and only season at Long Beach State, he led the team to an undefeated conference record and a Big West championship. He coached Iowa to a Final Four appearance in 1980, losing to eventual NCAA champion Louisville in the national semifinal. After leading the Hawkeyes to the Sweet Sixteen in 1983, Olson surprised many by leaving for an Arizona program that was one of the worst in the nation. He said he left Iowa because life there had become a "fishbowl" and he needed a change.