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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Candrea to take 15-month break after WCWS

    Arizona head coach Mike Candrea preps his players before yesterdays 10-inning win over Tennessee. Candrea will be taking a 15-month leave of absence to coach the USA Softball team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing starting in January.
    Arizona head coach Mike Candrea preps his players before yesterday’s 10-inning win over Tennessee. Candrea will be taking a 15-month leave of absence to coach the USA Softball team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing starting in January.

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Win or lose its eighth national championship tonight, Arizona has one more game with head coach Mike Candrea before he takes a 15-month leave of absence to coach the USA Softball team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

    Candrea separated himself completely from the program to coach the national team in 2004, and the Wildcats did not reach the WCWS for the only time in the past 20 seasons.

    Candrea will play some role with Arizona this time around, he said last night, after the Wildcats tied the best-of-three championship series with a 1-0, 10-inning win over Tennessee.

    “”The best thing this year is I am going to get to stay through the fall, so I am not going to start the leave until January, and I think that will help a little bit with the newcomers coming in,”” Candrea said. “”It is a choice of mine and the school supported me. It isn’t an opportunity you get very often to represent the United States. As a coach, it really means a lot to me.””

    Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood told the Arizona Daily Star on Friday that he will meet with Candrea after the World Series to discuss his exact role. Livengood is out of town this week, and a Wildcat attempt to reach him was not successful.

    “”Mike will be around the program more than he was in 2004,” Livengood said.

    He added that assistant coaches Larry Ray and Nancy Evans may share the interim head coaching job.

    Ray took over for Candrea in 2004 and led the Wildcats to a Pacific 10 Conference championship and a 55-6 record. But Arizona was knocked off in the NCAA Regionals by Oklahoma and Louisiana-Lafayette.

    Ray has posted a 224-112 record as a head coach, including a 169-106 record during four years (1996-1999) as the head coach at Florida. Evans has no head coaching experience.

    Junior pitcher Taryne Mowatt arrived at Arizona the season after Ray’s interim stint and said last night that not having Candrea around will present an entirely new challenge for her and the team.

    “”We are still going to work hard,”” she said. “”It is going to be a little different, but we definitely have confidence in coach Ray’s ability.””

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