TUCSON, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Assistant Coach Russ Pennell has been named interim men's basketball coach at Arizona, succeeding the retired Lute Olson.
Olson, 74, retired Thursday, ending a 25-year tenure.
Pennell, 47, joined the Wildcat staff May 5, 2008, after spending the last two seasons running the Arizona Premier Basketball League in the Phoenix area.
Several reports said he took the job after associate head coach Mike Dunlap, Olson's rumored replacement, declined to take the job.
"This is an exciting opportunity for me," Pennell said on the Pac-10 school's Web site. "I look forward to the challenge of leading this program. As the son of a former coach and one who has spent his life around the game of basketball, I'm humbled to get a chance to lead such a storied program."
Pennell's most recent coaching position was as an assistant at Arizona State from 1998-2006.
Dunlap and assistant Reggie Geary will remain and a national search is under way for a permanent coach.