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Curtain Call for Candrea

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TUCSON (KVOA) -- Arizona celebrated Mike Candrea on Tuesday as the longtime softball coach stepped down from the position, he has held for 36 years.

Players from across Candrea’s tenure in Tucson showed up at McKale Center for his going away party.

Although he won’t be going far. Candrea will remain with Arizona Athletics as an advisor, taking on a role that is not yet clearly defined.

Candrea indicated that he had intended to retire after the 2020 season.

COVID-19's cancelation of that season though brought him back to finish out his tenure with a senior class he called, “special”.

It’s a class that took him back to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series one last time.

Candrea’s assistant coach and four-time All-American Caitlin Lowe will take the stage on Wednesday morning at McKale Center and begin her tenure as the eight-time national champion program’s new head coach.

Mike Candrea is joined at his Retirement Ceremony by nearly 50 current and past players he coached in his 36 seasons at Arizona (Photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics/Mike Christy)


  • 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.

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David Kelly

David Kelly is the weekend sports anchor at KVOA in Tucson. He is a 28-year veteran of the sports broadcast business.

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