Coach K, Olson among finalists for Hall of Fame

Wednesday, March 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ Final Four coaches Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Lute Olson of Arizona are on the short list for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Krzyzewski and Olson were among 17 finalists _ seven players, seven coaches and three contributors _ announced Wednesday. The inductees will be voted into the hall in May and enshrined Oct. 5.

``It knocks you back a little bit,'' Krzyzewski said. ``It's the highest honor you can be considered for in your sport. It can't get any better than this except being elected.''

His team faces Maryland on Saturday in the NCAA semifinals. Olson's team plays Michigan State in the other game.

Krzyzewski does not plan on making his Hall of Fame prospects a topic of conversation with his players.

``I'm not going to tell them,'' he said. ``They just need to concentrate on playing. And being a parent, I know kids can only take care of a few things at a time.''

Other coaches among the finalists are Larry Brown, who won NCAA championships at UCLA and Kansas and took six different teams to the NBA playoffs; Temple's John Chaney, who has led the Owls to five NCAA regional finals over the past 19 years and led Cheyney State to a Division II championship; and Fresno State's Jerry Tarkanian, who won an NCAA championship at UNLV.

Among the players were Moses Malone, who skipped college to play 21 years in the ABA and NBA; James Worthy, one of the game's greatest fastbreak finishers; scoring star Adrian Dantley; and defensive ace Bobby Jones.

Krzyzewski, who has led Duke to two national championships and is making his ninth appearance in the Final Four, and Malone, a 12-time All-Star who ranks third in rebounding, fifth in scoring and third in games played, were first-time nominees.

Active college coaches are eligible for election to the Hall of Fame after 25 years in coaching. Players must be retired for five years.

Nominees need 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for induction.

Olson is the seventh winningest active college coach. He has a 739-246 record in 28 years of coaching at Long Beach City College, Long Beach State, Iowa and Arizona. He led Arizona to the 1997 NCAA championship and the school's string of 17 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including four trips to the Final Four, is the longest current streak.

``Lute truly epitomizes what people who start out in this profession dream of,'' Krzyzewski said.

Cathy Rush, whose three national championships at Immaculata College in the 1970s brought national attention and scholarship money to women's college basketball; and North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, who ranks fifth with 611 career victories and has taken the Wolfpack to the NCAA tournament 15 times in the past 19 years, also were nominated to the hall.

Also proposed as players were Earl Lloyd, who in 1950 became the first black to play in an NBA game, and international stars Dino Meneghin of Italy and the late Drazen Petrovic, who played in the NBA and on the Yugoslavian and Croatian Olympic teams.

Nominated as contributors were Tex Winter, who has spent more than 50 years coaching on the Division I or professional level; Grady Lewis, who helped develop the low-cut canvas basketball shoe; and the late Junius Kellogg, a wheelchair basketball pioneer.