This morning, ESPN's Dick Vitale reported that Lute Olson is set to step down as Arizona men's head basketball coach.
Thus far, no official announcement has been forthcoming:
"Nothing has changed," UA sports information official Richard Paige told the Tucson Citizen on Thursday morning. "Lute is still our coach."
Mr. Paige's non-denial denial reminds me of President Clinton's non-denial denial of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
In 1998, President Clinton was forced to testify in a sexual harassment case which had been brought against him by a former Arkansas state government worker named Paula Jones. Ms. Jones' counsel was attempting to establish that President Clinton had a history of marital infidelity. So they questioned the President about his purported sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, a former White House intern. President Clinton tried to obfuscate Ms. Jones' counsel by raising questions about the meaning of the word is (as the word's meaning pertained to his previous statements that "there is no improper relationship," and "there's nothing going on between us").
President Clinton was later impeached and disbarred for having committed perjury in the Paula Jones case (remember that although the U.S. Senate voted to impeach the President, he was allowed to remain in office). But his parsing of words gave the world the now famous phrase: "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is."
Sure, as Mr. Paige told the Tuscon newspaper, Lute Olson is still Arizona's coach. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't plan to step down in the next few days.
ArizonaCentral.com has a timeline of Lute Olson's recent history at Arizona (Olson took a leave of absence for the 2007/08 season, before returning -- amid a great deal of uncertainty about his future [and the future of the Arizona basketball program] -- for the 2008/09 season).
It's official. Lute Olson has retired after 25 years at the University of Arizona.