Olson and others haven't grasped the art of the exit
Where have you gone, John Wooden?Actually, we know good and well where he's gone. Into retirement with his dignity and legacy intact.
Olson began the 2007-08 season by taking a sudden leave of absence and subsequently got divorced from his second wife. Last December, Olson announced that he would miss the entire season, then announced he'd be back in 2008-09, then agreed to a plan to have assistant coach Kevin O'Neill succeed him, then said O'Neill would never succeed him, then had a positively embarrassing hissing match on talk radio with his ex-wife, then came back for this season and showed up smiling at media day on Tuesday, then suddenly went AWOL from practice and other obligations on Wednesday, then the school announced on Thursday that he was retiring at age 74.Instead of this being time to celebrate of all that a coaching giant accomplished, it is a time of conflicting emotions, recriminations and widespread bewilderment. We're not simply talking about a brilliant coach who took a formerly dormant program to four Final Fours and won one national title; we're wondering why a septuagenarian would put himself and his school through this legacy-smudging melodrama. We're wondering why he couldn't quit with class. All we know for sure is this:
Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPN4D@aol.com.