25/04/2024

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Arizona Softball’s 50th Anniversary

2 min read
Arizona Softball’s 50th Anniversary

TUCSON, Ariz. — Let’s travel back in time, 50 years ago.

It’s 1974 and the Arizona Softball program is just getting started.

Over the past 50 seasons, the Wildcats have seen 35 NCAA Tournaments and 25 Women’s College World Series. Of those 60 appearances, Arizona has won 12 Conference Championships and eight National Championships.

“Well, 50 years is frightening because it’s gone by so quickly,” Former Arizona Softball coach, Mike Candrea said.

Back in 1985 when Candrea began coaching the Wildcats, players were wearing shorts, and would play with a white ball on a rec field.

“A gentleman came to my office, Bill Hillenbrand and said, ‘Mike I want to help your program.’ So I pulled this napkin that I had drawn a stadium on and said, ‘This is what I want,'” Candrea said.

From that conversation, Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium was born and Arizona Softball was taking off.

“It kind of just slowly grew into a monster you had to keep feeding because you’d finish second at the World Series and people would ask what happened,” Candrea said.

From 1991 to 1998, the Wildcats won five National Championships and five Conference Championships.

“The ’90s were good to us,” Candrea said.

Candrea not only wanted build good softball players but good people.

So, when he thought it was time to step down in 2021, his former player Caitlin Lowe was an easy choice to replace him.

“It’s really cool to look back and this being the last year of the PAC-12 as well,” Coach Lowe said. “To look back at really cool moments, but also focus on making our mark on this year, as well.”

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Erin Patterson is a reporter for KGUN 9. She’s agraduate of the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s in News Media with a Sports Concentration. Erin recently obtained her Master’s Degree in Sports Journalism from Arizona State University at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, where she gained experience a sports reporter, anchor and producer. Share your story ideas and important issues with Erin by emailing [email protected].

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