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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Assistant follows baseball coach far and wide

    Jake Lacey /Arizona Daily Wildcat

Baseball beat Southern Utah 18-0
    Jake Lacey
    Jake Lacey /Arizona Daily Wildcat Baseball beat Southern Utah 18-0

    lopez’s right-hand man

    After a decade of playing and coaching under Arizona head baseball coach Andy Lopez, Arizona assistant coach Mark Wasikowski knows he may never get the opportunity to run a program of his own.

    Not that that would be a problem, though.

    “”I don’t think about it,”” Wasikowski said. “”If I’m a head coach some day, then great. If I’m one of those guys that’s a long-time assistant, then great.

    “”To be real honest, I don’t think about the long term,”” he said. “”I always just think about what I got to do today and tomorrow. It’s worked up to this point, so I’m not going to change.””

    That one-day-at-a-time attitude is likely what has pushed Wasikowski to where he is today.

    Wasikowski, the third base and infield coach for the Wildcats, played for Lopez as the starting third baseman at Pepperdine for two seasons, including the 1992 squad that won the national championship.

    In 1994, he worked under Lopez as a volunteer assistant for the Waves.

    After a few years of working for a collegiate summer league and Southeast Missouri State, the Seal Beach, Calif., native rejoined Lopez at Florida from 1999 to 2001.

    Both Wasikowski and Lopez took their respective jobs at Arizona in 2001.

    Over the years, their relationship has no doubt been a benefit to whatever program they coached.

    “”I just feel fortunate that he keeps wanting me to coach with him,”” Wasikowski said. “”I think I understand him a lot. I understood him when I played for him, and I understand him as I coach with him now. He wants things done right, and he wants people to work hard for him and that’s it.””

    Lopez said that it is Wasikowski’s work ethic that made him a great player and makes him a great coach.

    “”The more you gave him, the more he wanted to succeed,”” Lopez said. “”And that’s rare. When I gave Mark three things to do, he would do five. I’ve had some coaches when I give them three things to do, they can barely do two things.””

    Lopez joked that given his drive, work ethic and knowledge of the game, Wasikowski is the true brains behind the operation.

    “”When I was his age, I was a lot sharper,”” Lopez said. “”Now as I’m getting older, I’m getting more senile, so he’s the bright guy of the staff, and I kind of make sure I don’t get in the way.””

    Both coaches bring a sense of intensity and competitive spirit to the field each day that sets an example for the team.

    “”Waz is an intense guy, and he definitely doesn’t like to lose, so this year’s been tough on him as with all of us,”” said junior shortstop Jason Donald. “”Waz is a hard worker and he recruits with the best of them. They both can get after you pretty good and they also both can be your buddies.””

    Lopez added that the success he has enjoyed at Arizona, including a trip to the College World Series in 2004, is due in large part to Wasikowski.

    “”The success we’ve had here the last few years in because of Mark Wasikowski,”” he said. “”He’s very valuable to everything we do out here.””

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