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Arizona softball: Mike Candrea’s contract extended through 2022

The deal will make him one of the highest-paid coaches in college softball

Photo by Jason Bartel

The Arizona Wildcats have extended Mike Candrea’s contract through the 2022 season, it was announced Monday by UA athletic director Dave Heeke.

"Simply put, Mike Candrea is the greatest coach in the history of softball," Heeke said in a statement.

"From the National Championships to the Olympic medals, nobody has done more to grow the sport of softball. During his time as head coach at Arizona, Mike has shown an incredible aptitude to not only produce excellent softball players, but also excellent people, and we couldn't be happier that he's agreed to continue to lead our program well into the future."

The extension will increase Candrea’s base salary to $345,000 and it includes performance bonuses and 50,000 units in a master limited partnership that will vest at stages throughout the contract.

“The combined package will make Candrea one of the highest-paid collegiate softball coaches in the country,” states the UA’s release. “The extension has been agreed to in principle but is subject to final approval by the Arizona Board of Regents.”

According to the UA salary database, Candrea made $230,763 last season.

Candrea, 61, has a 1,520-388-2 (.796) record in 32 seasons at Arizona, is the Division I wins leader in college softball history, and has won eight national titles at Arizona.

"I've been blessed to lead our softball program for the last 32 years," Candrea said in a statement. "I always tell people that I've never worked a day in my life, because I'm doing what I love to do at a special place like Arizona. The University, the administration and the Tucson community supports the game of softball, and that isn't the case everywhere. I feel fortunate to be able to continue in my role as head coach and I look forward to seeing what we can do as a program moving forward."

The Wildcats fell one win short of the Women’s College World Series in 2017, but won their first Pac-12 title since 2007, compiling a 52-9 record.

Heeke wrote in last week’s Wildcat Wednesday that the UA has been “hard at work on efforts to retain some of our highly-sought-after coaches,” and evidently Candrea was someone he was referring to.

It’s also worth noting that the UA’s release states “Arizona Athletics has launched an extensive study to evaluate potential renovation opportunities at Hillenbrand Stadium.”

Candrea said this season that Hillenbrand Stadium needs a “facelift” and that the next stage of renovations would cost roughly $5 million.

It looks like he may get his wish.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire