Olson back on job for Wildcats - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Olson back on job for Wildcats

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 6:14 am | Updated: 8:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

TUCSON - After what he described as a “very positive meeting” with Arizona coach Lute Olson, Kevin O’Neill had little to say about his plans on Tuesday.

“I don’t want to get into anything about that,” O’Neill said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We had a great meeting, a very positive meeting.”

O’Neill was promoted to interim coach after Olson went on a personal leave of absence on Nov. 4. O’Neill was later designated Olson’s permanent successor when the Hall of Famer retires, but he has not said whether he will return as an assistant next year.

O’Neill said weeks ago he would decide his next move after the season. But on Tuesday it didn’t sound as if he would make a decision soon.

“I have no time frame for anything,” said O’Neill, who is under contract through June.

O’Neill will meet with the media today at McKale Center to wrap up the Wildcats’ season, which ended last week in a first-round loss to West Virginia in the NCAA tournament.

Overcoming distractions surrounding Olson’s absence and a series of injuries, O’Neill guided Arizona to its 24th straight NCAA tournament appearance, extending the nation’s longest active streak.

Olson returned to work Monday, meeting with underclassmen individually.

What isn’t clear is Olson’s relationship with O’Neill.

Olson has been noncommittal on any plans for O’Neill, whom he hired last spring to help shore up Arizona’s porous defense.

In December, it was announced O’Neill was Olson’s eventual successor.

Olson showed that he’s in charge again, saying he was “not interested” in the three high school seniors O’Neill has offered scholarships to in advance of next month’s spring signing period.

The Wildcats have a full complement of 13 players on paper for next season.

However, O’Neill extended the offers because the Wildcats could lose players to an early pro departure or transfer. Olson said he did not want to sign anybody this spring because the Wildcats would have everybody back.

Olson said he had a good talk with the three players considering a jump to pro ball, Jerryd Bayless, Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill. He added they still have not made final decisions.

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