Mike Candrea announced his retirement Monday after 36 years coaching softball at Arizona.
Candrea ends his career as the winningest softball coach in NCAA history. He led Arizona to 34 consecutive postseasons including 24 trips to the Women’s College World Series.
He also coached the United States women’s softball team to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics.
Candrea’s retirement has led to an outpouring of celebration and reflection from the college softball world, ranging from former players of his at Arizona to competing players and coaches. Here is a look at the reactions:
I cannot express my gratitude for this man. He will be remembered for his successes, championships, and wins of course, but more so for his character and incredible impact on all of our lives.— Gina Snyder (@ginasnyder24) June 7, 2021
I am so thankful for my time in an Arizona uniform playing Coach.❤️ https://t.co/65zhquuBRx
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and leaving this game better than you found it!— Amanda Scarborough (@ascarborough) June 7, 2021
It was an honor to take the same field as you as a player and to call your teams’ games.
Congratulations on a career & impact that will undoubtedly be remembered forever. https://t.co/8dKACmcoPj
We all want that. I really hope this isn’t the end for Coach, but if it is, I’ll be forever grateful for the lessons I have been able to learn from the in the few encounters and countless videos, books, etc. I’m not a Wildcat, but forever grateful for his impact.— Chris Kuhlmeyer ♂️ (@CoachKuhlmeyer) June 5, 2021
Every college softball player in the country has been positively impacted, directly or indirectly, by the legendary Mike Candrea.— Nyree White (@brickwall_sb) June 5, 2021
Can’t even find the words- I’m very grateful to be a part of this Arizona Softball tradition that extends far between the white lines of the field, your influence on this sport and it’s players is everlasting. Thank you, Coach. https://t.co/e7C10Ib64z— Kristie Fox (@kfox29) June 7, 2021
At 13, I was given a Mike Candrea catching video.I have him to thank for sharing the fundamentals that helped shaped me into an elite catcher.— Roya St.Clair (@royast24) June 7, 2021
AND every single wildcat alum I’ve gotten to know are incredible people and that speaks volumes on the type of program he built. THE https://t.co/vpkjMoIL1g
Thank you for everything, Coach. It was a pleasure to play for you❤️ https://t.co/wVH3lhRGDa— Michelle Floyd (@MichelleFloyd13) June 7, 2021
Grew up on his videos as a kid. My dad had us in the backyard watching & re-watching this hitting guru teach! Fast forward to meeting him at my 1st convention! He nudged me to keep pushing as a mom because the game needed us! He owes us nothing he gave and taught us everything! https://t.co/86r9JAKO3r— Tori Tyson (@ToriTyson) June 7, 2021
After 36 seasons, @ArizonaSoftball head coach Mike Candrea announced his retirement this morning. The 12-time Conference Coach of the Year is the winningest coach in @NCAAsoftball history— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) June 7, 2021
Cheers to an amazing career, Coach
: https://t.co/65PVExSUOx#BearDown | #Pac12SB pic.twitter.com/PLTUfiu40j
Congratulations @CoachCandreaUA on an incredible career dedicated to positively impacting the game of softball and the lives of young women.— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) June 7, 2021
It's been an honor to compete against you. pic.twitter.com/UKEcWJFVwh