Longtime Suns Archivist Passes Away
A longtime and respected member of the Phoenix Suns family, digital archivist John Olson, passed away Thursday afternoon.
Olson was proud to tell anyone who asked about his tenure that he had been with the Suns “since day one,” as he was originally a member of the team’s game-night statistics staff, beginning with the inaugural season in 1968-69. Although he left the organization in the late ‘80s, he returned in the mid ‘90s to head up a new photo archival department, cataloging and categorizing print, film and digital images throughout the franchise’s history.
An avid sports fan, who could remember rosters, games and statistics dating back to the early days of the Suns, Olson also managed the photo libraries for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Rattlers for several years, as well as the Phoenix Mercury since the WNBA team’s inception.
In recent years, Olson had taken on additional responsibility within the Suns Digital department, helping to create photo galleries for the Suns, Mercury and USAC websites, which were some of the most popular content pieces for fans. In the last three years, the photo galleries Olson created for Suns.com generated more than 10 million page views.
“John was an invaluable and hard-working member of our digital team,” said Jeramie McPeek, Suns Vice President of Digital. “His car was one of the first in the garage on most mornings; you couldn’t miss it, because it had STATS on the license plate. And he would regularly stay up late into the night to add photos to our websites after games.
“More importantly, though, we are all going to miss his enthusiasm and his desire to serve. It didn’t matter if it was day, night, weekend or even while he was on vacation, John was always quick to respond to e-mail and phone calls to try and help locate a photo, or have a print made when someone needed it.”
In his free time, Olson worked as a statistician for Arizona State athletics and the Arizona Cardinals, and would spend several weeks a year in Colorado, skiing with his wife, June, and their son David.