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Dejah Mulipola and Jessie Harper returning to Arizona softball as graduate assistants

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: MAR 10 Wisconsin at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dejah Mulipola and Jessie Harper have played their last games in an Arizona softball uniform, but both will be returning to the program as graduate assistants for (at least) the 2022 season, according to sources.

Their veteran leadership can help smoothen the head coaching transition from Mike Candrea to Caitlin Lowe. Mulipola and Harper were multiple-time All-Americans with the Wildcats from 2017 to 2021, as well as starters on a pair of Women’s College World Series teams.

Mulipola, who will play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, finished her UA career with 68 homers, a .336 batting average and, among other accolades, the 2019 Johnny Bench Award, which is given to the best catcher in the country.

Harper, who started one season at first base and four at shortstop at Arizona, hit .339 with 92 career homers, tied with Katiyana Mauga for the most in Arizona history and second-most in NCAA history.

Lowe has primarily worked with outfielders in her career, and assistant coach Taryne Mowatt-McKinney leads the pitching staff, so Harper and Mulipola should be valuable mentors for Arizona’s infielders and catchers, respectively. They both made the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team in 2021.

Arizona also has an assistant coaching vacancy to fill after promoting Lowe from associate head coach. That position has been posted online.