TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Arizona's Lute Olson said he had his players' interests in mind when he took a personal leave of absence last season.
``The reason that I took the leave was that I didn't feel that I could be fair to the kids,'' Olson said. ``And despite what maybe some of you think, the main thing that I have, in my 50 or 51 years (in coaching), has been the concern of the kids.''
Beyond that, a combative Olson declined to discuss the reasons behind his leave during a televised 48-minute news conference at McKale Center on Tuesday.
Olson also said assistant coach Kevin O'Neill will not remain on his staff, although O'Neill said last week he planned to honor the second year of a two-year commitment he made to the program. O'Neill led the Wildcats for the season and had been named as Olson's successor when he retires.
``When he said he's coming back, or that he's going to fulfill the terms of his contract, he won't be on the staff,'' Olson said.
Olson announced that he was going on leave Nov. 4, and one month later he said he was extending it through the season - on the same day he filed for divorce from his wife, Christine.
``Frankly, even though I realize I'm a public figure, I don't think I need to go into every nuance of my private life,'' the 73-year-old Olson said. ``There were things going on in my life that did create some health issues that I needed time to address. But it was not a health scare.''

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