Arizona’s Candrea retiring after 36 years, 8 national titles

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Mike Candrea is retiring after winning eight national championships and amassing more wins than any coach in college softball history during 36 years at Arizona.

“It has been an honor to represent the University of Arizona for 36 years,” Candrea said in a statement Monday. “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.”

Caitlin Lowe, an assistant and former player under Candrea, was promoted to head coach.

Candrea won 1,674 games — fourth-most in any sport — during a career that spanned four decades, leading the Wildcats to 24 Women’s College World Series appearances and 19 conference championships. He coached 50 All-Americans at Arizona and won Olympic gold and silver medals with Team USA.

Arizona went 41-15 this season and was knocked out of the College World Series with losses to Florida State and Alabama.

Lowe played at Arizona from 2004-07, winning national championships in 2005 and 2007. She is the only Arizona player to be named a first-team All-American four straight years and earned an Olympic silver medal under Candrea in 2008.

Lowe has been on Candrea’s staff as an assistant the past five years.

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