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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Get to know your Wildcat coaches before Arizona kicks off the 2016-2017 season

Arizona athletics play a large part in the culture and society that is the UA. The programs have all been headed in an impressive direction since Greg Byrne took over as athletic director, and each sport maintains a competitive track record year in and out. Here’s a look at five coaches that all new students should get to know once they step onto campus.

Sean Miller — Men’s basketball

The head honcho himself, Sean Miller is probably the most popular man on campus every year. The success he has brought Arizona in the post-Lute Olson years has been stellar.

In seven seasons at the helm, Miller has taken the Wildcats to three Elite Eights and amassed a 49-game home winning streak over two and a half years that kept fans fully entertained.

He has coached and produced NBA players Derrick Williams, Aaron Gordon, Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. With four five-star recruits set to step onto the court in the fall, Miller’s reign as king of Tucson isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

Read more: The many faces of Sean Miller and his ride to college basketball’s elite.

Rich Rodriguez — Football

Rich Rod has been the Wildcats’ head coach for four years now, and he’s given the program one of the most successful runs in school history.

Two years ago, the Wildcats won the Pac-12 South title, while having the opportunity to play Boise State in the Vizio Fiesta Bowl.

Rodriguez has led the Wildcats to top-10 upset victories each year in Tucson, including one over No. 9 USC in 2012, No. 5 Oregon in 2013, at No. 2 Oregon in 2014, and No. 10 Utah in 2015.

He is bringing in one of the best recruiting classes the UA has ever seen for the upcoming year and looks to continue coaching this team to success.

Jay Johnson — Baseball

Johnson took over last year as the skipper for Arizona’s baseball team and has compiled an impressive record in his first season. The Wildcats won 30 games in his first year since he replaced former head coach Andy Lopez.

Johnson was an assistant at the University of San Diego from 2006-2013, where he coached future MLB All-Star Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. Johnson was then head of the Nevada Wolfpack for two years, where he compiled a 72-42 record before coming to Tucson.

Like Miller, Johnson is picking up right where his legendary predecessor left off.

Mike Candrea — Softball

Candrea has been the head coach of the Wildcats for 31 years and has found an impressive stretch of success in his time as a Wildcat.

He has over 1,400 career victories at the UA, making him the winningest Division I coach in the nation, while also leading the Wildcats to eight national titles.

He was the head coach of Team USA in 2004 when the team won gold in the Olympics and he has coached 54 All-Americans. Candrea is arguably the most successful coach in Arizona history.

Dave Rubio — Volleyball

In 24 years, Rubio has transformed Arizona volleyball into one of the most consistent faces in the NCAA Tournament.

Rubio has led the Wildcats to 17 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, while also taking them to a Final Four and four Elite Eights. He led the Wildcats to a 19-14 finish this past season and another NCAA Tournament berth.

He returns two-time All-Pac-12 player Penina Snuka, so look for the Wildcats to be another solid force in the nation come next season.

Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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