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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

COMIC: Rat’s Nest #3
Olivia MoreyFebruary 28, 2024
 

    Candrea’s presence has the Wildcats at ease

    Mike Candrea
    Mike Candrea

    OKLAHOMA CITY – The Arizona softball team went the whole season without its regular head coach, Mike Candrea. But the Wildcats were not without him entirely. He was there Thursday night for the opening round of the Women’s College World Series at Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame Stadium.

    The coach, who is on a season-long leave of absence to coach the Olympic softball team, had a break from his schedule and watched the Wildcats play UCLA in the last of four total games in the day.

    The coach, who was interviewed by ESPN during the game, said he hasn’t lost touch with his players.

    “”Really the only thing that I’ve been doing right now is staying in contact with the kids by email and text. I’ve become much more technical now these days.

    “”The rest of it I’ve kind of just have stepped to the side and let (interim head coach) Larry (Ray) and the staff do their job,”” Candrea said. “”I don’t want them to think I’m looking over their shoulder. I have a lot of confidence in them and I’m just really proud of this group.””

    For the players, having Candrea present meant the world. It didn’t make them intimidated or pressured.

    “”You know, Coach can be intimidating I think but to us he’s more of a father figure. All of our coaches are,”” said UA catcher Callista Balko. “”But I think that him being there actually kind of relaxes us. We’re used to him being there in that situation. And so I don’t think he would make anyone feel more pressure. He’s been through all the ups and downs with us.””

    Candrea admitted that it was tough sitting in the stands, knowing that he couldn’t do anything about the two Wildcat errors he watched. He knows where he truly belongs.

    “”I’d much rather be in the dugout,”” he said.

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