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UArizona softball head coach Mike Candrea retires after 36 years

Amanda Scarborough, Mike Candrea
Posted at 10:28 AM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 13:56:19-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona softball head coach Mike Candrea has announced that he is retiring after 36 years with the program.

Candrea, who led the Wildcats to eight national titles, and 24 appearances in the Women's College World Series, leaves the sport as the all-time winningest coach with 1,674 victories.

"It has been an honor to represent the University of Arizona for 36 years," said Candrea. "I am indebted to every player, coach and member of my support staff that has made the Arizona softball experience one that I will cherish forever. When I arrived in 1985, I wanted to build a culture of excellence and compete consistently at the highest levels of Division 1 softball. Most of all, our goal was to prepare our student-athletes for life after softball and build relationships that would last a lifetime."

"Over his four decades as the head coach of Arizona Softball, Mike Candrea established himself as one of the most iconic coaches, of any sport, in college athletics history," said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke. "While his impact on the game is widely recognized, his legacy is in the lives of the thousands of Wildcats who he coached. Mike's career embodied true excellence in all facets of leading a softball program -- winning on the field, student-athlete success in the classroom and developing them for life after graduation. He established a championship culture within Arizona Athletics that permeates throughout our department, and represented our state with honor and distinction. Mike is the epitome of a Wildcat for Life who coached, mentored and developed countless other Wildcats for Life.

"Over the past 36 years, Coach Mike Candrea has built Arizona Softball into one of the premier programs in the country," said University of Arizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins. "His legacy is unmatched: 8 national titles, 1600+ wins, and – more importantly – the countless students who have told me their lives are better because he was their coach and mentor. As he retires, I know the impact of his example and leadership at the University of Arizona will continue for new generations of Wildcats. Truly an all-time great."