A Legend Retires: UArizona Coach Mike Candrea Takes a Bow After Almost 40 Years

In a coaching career that spanned four decades, Mike Candrea established a legacy of elevating the game of softball, growing women’s sports, and helping build a program and athletics department at the University of Arizona that became synonymous with championships. Candrea was able to achieve all of that and more over the course of 36 seasons as thousands of student-athletes, coaches, staff members and fans had their lives changed for the better by a man affectionately known as “Coach”.

“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.”

Candrea’s Hall of Fame Career

  • NCAA softball leader in wins (1,674) 
  • On April 19, 2019, became the fastest coach in NCAA history, any division, any sport, to accumulate 1,600 wins 
  • Fifth-most Division I victories of any coach in any sport 
  • Has led Arizona to eight national championships, more than any coach in NCAA Softball history 
  • Arizona has made 24 trips to the Women’s College World Series in his tenure, missing just eight times in the last 32 years 
  • Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 178-65. The Wildcats have played in an NCAA-record 34 consecutive postseasons 
  • Fifty-three All-Americans with a staggering 108 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.

While the iconic coach may be retiring from his official duties, he will continue to be a part of the Arizona Athletics family in an advisory role as well as assisting with coaching development for the athletics department.

Arizona Athletics will host a farewell press conference for the Arizona icon on Tuesday, June 8 at McKale Memorial Center. The press conference will be closed to the public but will be aired live on Pac-12 Networks, Pac-12 Arizona, Arizona Wildcats livestream, and livestreamed on Arizona Athletics Facebook.

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