Retired Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea stood on a basketball court named for another legendary coach and his first wife, Lute and Bobbi Olson. That court had been named for Lute after a victory over Arizona State on Feb. 26, 2000, before being renamed for both members of the couple after Bobbi’s death in Jan. 2001.
During halftime of a game between the Wildcats and the Sun Devils, Arizona Athletics bestowed a similar honor upon Candrea. Going forward, the field where his teams practiced and played on their way to eight national titles will be named Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
Candrea was visibly moved as he stood surrounded by his family and former players.
“What a lucky guy I am to represent this great university,” Candrea told the sold-out crowd in McKale Center. “I’ll share something from Lou Gehrig, ‘I’m the luckiest man in the world right now.’ Thank you.”
Candrea continues to work for the Arizona athletic department. He currently holds the position of Special Advisor to head coaches, which allows him to provide advice and guidance to any Wildcat head coach who seeks him out. Former Arizona star Caitlin Lowe took over as head coach in June 2021.