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Arizona baseball: Andy Lopez cites health scares as reason to retire from coaching

It's not all about wins and losses

Harry How/Getty Images

After announcing his retirement Monday morning, former Arizona head coach Andy Lopez explained what went into the decision.

And it's not all about not having success on the field the past three years.

As we all know, coach Lopez had open heart surgery prior to the start of the 2014 season. He missed fall practice heading into that season to recover, and the team finished with a 22-33 record.

He detailed all the events that led to him having heart surgery with me a week before the 2014 campaign started. He admitted that he wasn't fully invested in 2014 before the start of this season, because he was having problems regaining strength after his heart scare.

Well, his health seems to be the primary reason for his departure at this time.

He talked about two instances this season that played heavily into the decision. The first was the Saturday morning of the Stanford trip. In the team hotel, he started feeling chest pain and thought he was having some sort of panic attack, which would have been the first of his life. He called his doctor and his wife to tell them about it, and the pain did go away.

The second incident happened on the flight back from the Oregon State series. He said he hoped that there was a doctor on the flight because he started breathing heavily and wasn't sure what was going to happen.

Lopez has a family history of heart disease, and when you add to that the stress college baseball brings on, it's probably the right decision for him to make to step away at this time. He said he'd had multiple lunches with athletic director Greg Byrne over the course of the past couple months, discussing what should happen. The ultimate decision to retire at the end of this season happened before the UCLA series.

It sounds like the Lopez family will stay in Tucson, as his wife suggested while they were still at Florida that she wanted to retire in Tucson.

Thank you coach for everything, and hopefully stepping away from the game helps you recover health-wise and live life to the fullest.