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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona Wildcats softball to debut ‘copper lid’ helmet

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Arizona softball may not have as many uniform combinations as Oregon, but this season the Wildcats have changed from head to toe.

The UA announced that the Wildcats will debut their fourth helmet of the year, their copper lid, on Thursday, for the celebration of Hillenbrand Stadium’s 20th season against UCLA on ESPN2.

“They came out real nice,” head coach Mike Candrea said.

There will be in-game copper promotions as well as commemorative programs, and the first 2,000 fans will receive bandanas. Former Wildcats will sign autographs after the game.

“[I’m] definitely excited to use those copper ones; I think those are cool,” junior pitcher/designated player Estela Piñon said.

Candrea said he talked to athletic director Greg Byrne and senior associate director James Francis about the copper helmets, and Francis encouraged Candrea to have equipment developer Schutt Sports make a prototype.

“I’ve been around for quite some time, and copper was a huge industry when I first moved to Phoenix and that’s what you heard a lot about,” Candrea said. “Then, as I traveled around the state — through Globe, Miami, Superior, Douglas and Morenci — I got to see the copper industry firsthand.”

The copper helmets are an homage to Arizona’s history.

“Back in the ’70s when I first started coaching, we recruited a lot of kids whose parents were involved with the copper mines, so it was a very vibrant industry at that time,” Candrea said. “It’s slowed down since, but copper means a lot to this state and it’s a nice way for us to say thank you.”

The UA added silver helmets this year in addition to the traditional blue ones and the pink ones for Breast Cancer Awareness Night, March 7, against Boise State. Arizona has four jerseys: white, gray, blue and red.

Oregon, meanwhile, has five jerseys: white with black lettering, white with green lettering, kelly green, and black and yellow. The Ducks have 360 uniform combinations and, according to a Daily Emerald story, Nike spent one and half years on them.

Candrea didn’t know much about the Ducks’ uniforms.

“Oh, I have no idea what their uniforms even look like,” Candrea said. “I know they’re yellow and they’re green. I don’t know whether they get as fancy as their football program, but it’s not the uniforms that allow you to play.”

Piñon said she saw the Ducks walking around in their uniforms at a tournament and thought they were “really weird.”

This season Arizona switched from its trademark red cleats to black shoes.

Candrea said it was tough to find red cleats that were comfortable and in the right sizes, as black and gray have become the dominant colors for cleats.

“Red cleats I’ve worn ever since I’ve been here,” Candrea said. “Maybe I wore white when I first got here, for a little bit, but we started wearing red cleats back in, I don’t know, ’87, ’88 — maybe sooner than that — and we’ve worn them ever since.”

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