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Pac-12 Conference

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Arizona softball head coach Mike Candrea announces retirement

Jun 7, 2021

After 36 years leading the Arizona softball program, Wildcats head coach Mike Candrea announced his retirement on Monday. The all-time winningest coach in the history of collegiate softball with 1,674 wins, Candrea is the fastest coach in NCAA history to accumulate 1,600 wins across all sports. 

“On behalf of the Pac-12, I want to thank Coach Mike Candrea for all that he has done over the years for his student-athletes, for the University of Arizona, for the Pac-12 Conference and for the game of softball itself," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "Coach Candrea’s tireless efforts and commitment to creating successful teams, promoting and advancing women’s sports and developing young adults into successful individuals are true marks of a champion.”

Under Candrea’s leadership, Arizona made 24 trips to the Women’s College World Series, including a final appearance in 2021. The Wildcats lead all NCAA programs with 34 consecutive postseason berths, while Candrea’s eight national championships are the most of any coach in NCAA Softball history. Fifty-three All-Americans, with a total of 108 citations, have played in the program since Candrea took over in 1986. 

Candrea also led the Wildcats to 11 Conference championships, winning Conference Coach of the Year on 12 occasions and National Coach of the Year three times. 

Internationally, Candrea served as the head coach of Team USA during the United States’ gold medal run in Athens in 2004, as the team posted a 9-0 record and outscored its opponents 51-1. In 2008, the team earned the silver medal in Beijing.

Candrea was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2017 and the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. The legendary coach was previously inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 1996, the Pima County Hall of Fame in 1996, and the Central Arizona College Hall of Fame in 2009. He will continue to be a part of the Arizona athletics department, serving in an advisory role as well as assisting with coaching development. Arizona Athletics will host a press conference on Tuesday, June 8 at the McKale Memorial Center at 10:30 a.m. MT.