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Mike Candrea  


As one of the most accomplished coaches in any sport on any level, Mike Candrea is synonymous with softball excellence.

Candrea’s accomplishments on the college level are astounding, more than 1,100 Division I victories, 22 Women’s College World Series appearances, and a remarkable eight national titles in the last 19 years. But his incredible coaching and leadership acumen have extended beyond the college game and onto the international stage where he guided the US National Team from 2002-2008. During his six seasons with the national team, he guided the US to a pair of Pan-Am Games victories, Japan Cups, as well as World Championship titles in 2002 and 2006.

On the grandest softball stage there is, he guided the US Olympic Softball team to a gold medal in 2004 in Athens and a silver medal in the 2008 games in Beijing.

In 1996 he was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and in 2006, he was named coach of the Women's College World Series 25th Anniversary Team.

Candrea was hired at Arizona before the 1986 season, UA finished 27-13-1 that first year, his "worst" record to date. The following year, the Cats were 42-18 and qualified for their first of 23 consecutive NCAA postseason appearances, a year later the Cats were in the WCWS for first time. After a pair of close losses in the WCWS, the breakthrough came in 1991. A dynasty was born that year in Oklahoma City with the clinching of the program’s first national championship with a 5-1 win over softball superpower UCLA.

No matter if its one of his 40 All-Americans, 21 US National Team participants, 5 National Player of the Year winners, or merely a walk-on, Candrea's goal is to have each on of his players maximize their ability. His own desire to succeed is surpassed only by his passion for the process required to achieve greatness. It is not uncommon to see him hitting fungoes until his hands ache, or work with a hitter so long after practice the lights have to be turned on.

Candrea is sought out by softball and baseball coaches around the country and he has delivered instructional clinics throughout the nation. He is known for hitting techniques, team fielding drills and squad motivational preparation. In recent years, he has consulted with major league baseball stars and other respected coaches to conduct national hitting clinics. He participates in dozens of such sessions to help improve the way softball is taught and played. He has written several books and produced a number of videotapes on various softball subjects and has designed specific practice aids and equipment that are widely used at various levels of play.

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