Coaching Carousel: Let The Buzz Begin
The University of Arizona will have a new head coach this summer after long-time skipper Andy Lopez announced his retirement on Monday. The 33-year coaching veteran who also had head coaching stints at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida before heading to Arizona, spent the last 14 seasons with the Wildcats. However, after experiencing some health issues last season and returning this year, Lopez felt it was in his best interest to retire this year.
Lopez goes down as one of the more successful college baseball coaches in history, tallying a record of 1,177-742-7, while also winning two national titles, one at Pepperdine in 1992 with now Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez as one of his players, and the other, of course, being with the Wildcats in 2012 as they ousted back-to-back national champion South Carolina to capture the program’s first national title since 1986. In all, Lopez guided UA to a pair of CWS appearances, the first coming in 2004.
In addition to his status as one of the better coaches in college baseball, Lopez was a true gentleman and genuinely well liked around the college baseball community. He certainly will be missed in various aspects of the game.
“For the past 14 years, I have been extremely honored to be a part of the Arizona baseball program,” Lopez said. “This is a special place with many special people, and I thank everyone at The University of Arizona for the opportunity to finish my career here.”
“There have been a lot of really good moments in my career,” Lopez explained. “I have been lucky to experience an unbelievable amount of success at the places I have coached. But now I am excited for what is ahead for me and my family. And I’m excited for the future of Arizona baseball. This is a great program and it will always be.”
“I never dreamed this big when I was 12 years old,” Lopez added. “I have loved playing and coaching this game, and it has taken to me all over the world. I have been fortunate to develop life-long relationships that I cherish each and every day, and now I can dedicate more time to the people that mean the most to me.”
Lopez’s effect on college baseball will be forever felt. While leading the Wildcats to the ’12 national title will go down as one of his great accomplishments, the long-time skipper also ushered in a new era in program history when the program moved to impressively-renovated Hi Corbett Field, a real luxury UA’s next coach will be able to enjoy and thrive from moving forward.
As for the Arizona job moving ahead, the Wildcats certainly will have some intriguing options to choose from, and let’s delve into some of those candidates, both real and potential:
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