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Mike Candrea ‘shocked’ NCAA voted down third assistant proposal for softball

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arizona-wildcats-softball-mike-candrea-stock-analysis-program-2019 Photo by Ryan Kelapire

Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea said Tuesday he was shocked that the proposal to allow programs to hire a third assistant coach was voted down by the NCAA Division I council.

“I really thought it was going to go through pretty easily,” Candrea said.

Candrea did not agree with the decision, saying it denies an opportunity for young women to break into the industry.

“I think the game has grown a lot now where we have a lot of former players getting into the coaching profession, and I think that was always a great opportunity to have that available,” he said.

The proposal was not approved by the Big Ten and Big 12. Cal and Oregon State were the only Pac-12 schools to vote against it.

Originally, baseball was the only sport included in the proposal, but it was expanded to include softball (likely due to Title IX reasons). That was what caused OSU athletic director Scott Barnes to vote against it.

“The addition of softball was really hasty and didn’t give enough time to view it,” Barnes told the Oregonian. “It’s not suggesting I don’t support softball either, it’s just a different sport and we have to look at it differently.”

While adding a third full-time assistant coach requires funding that not every program has, the proposal would not have required schools to hire one, leading some to believe there was no downside to the legislation.

However, Barnes noted that programs would have felt pressure to take on a third assistant, if only to stay on the same level as their competitors.

“I just really feel that right now where the sport is and the numbers involved, it only makes sense and I think it will only be a matter of time before they do approve it,” Candrea said. “But I quit worrying about what the NCAA does a long time ago. I just read the rule book and try to keep myself clean and stay out of the newspapers.”

For now, Arizona will continue to lean on volunteer coach Ray Camacho, the former head coach at Pueblo High School. Candrea said the UA is blessed to have someone like Camacho who is willing to sacrifice his time to help the program, but recognizes that not every school is so lucky.

“Ray is a big part of this program and I thank the good Lord that he has a job that he can come here at 3 o’clock and do what he does. But if you don’t have someone like a Ray Camacho, it’s a very hard position to fill,” Candrea said.

“Here’s the hard part: Someone’s volunteering their time, yet you can’t do anything for them. At least meet us halfway where you can kind of open it up a little bit and allow us to do some things for the volunteer coach. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re going to have that position, not everyone has to choose to pay them. You can still have a volunteer. But on the other hand, I think it’s another part of that entry level for young females to get in the game and get into the coaching profession.”