Just hours after legendary head coach Mike Candrea announced his retirement on Monday morning, the Arizona softball program already has a new person at the helm in Tucson.
The Wildcats didn’t look too far for the hire, as associate head coach and former four-time Arizona All-American Caitlin Lowe is set to grab the reigns and fill the coaching vacancy. Lowe has served on Candrea’s staff for the last nine seasons as an integral resource and mind to help develop young student-athletes in Tucson.
Keeping it in the 𝑭𝑨𝑴𝑰𝑳𝒀!
We are thrilled to announce our next head coach, Caitlin Lowe! pic.twitter.com/fsWaWbumeN
— Arizona Softball (@ArizonaSoftball) June 7, 2021
A former United States Olympian from 2005-08 who won a silver medal under Candrea, Lowe is not an unfamiliar name to softball fans in Tucson, as she is the career leader in stolen bases and one of the best outfielders in school history during her days when she used to patrol center field at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
“Coach Candrea has built a culture of excellence that puts his players at the forefront,” Lowe said in a statement from Arizona Athletics. “He has shown us all what it looks like to fiercely pursue our passion. He has led this team with integrity, class, and the upmost humility. I could not have asked for a better mentor in this game and most importantly in life. I take great pride in carrying on the tradition of what it means to be an Arizona Wildcat. I am so honored and extremely humbled to represent Tucson and the University of Arizona as your next head coach.”
Lowe failed to commit an error over the course of her playing career at Arizona, and during her time as a coach, she has helped the Wildcats in base running, defensive work in the outfield, and the team’s offensive power at the plate in addition to many other responsibilities.
With Lowe’s leadership, the Wildcat outfield had a .994 fielding percentage in 2017 and only committed one error all year. Thus, when Candrea announced that his time was coming to a close on Monday, Lowe seemed like an ideal fit to step right in.
“Caitlin Lowe has been a super star her entire life. From her days as a four-time All-American at the University of Arizona to being a member of our USA Olympic Team to the National Pro Fastpitch league. Caitlin is special and she has continued that growth and success as the associate head coach for Arizona Softball,” Candrea said. “She is bright, a good communicator, understands what it takes having been there as an athlete, and the players love her. Without a doubt, Caitlin is the best person to continue the Arizona legacy into the future. She will be a super star for many years to come.”
The Wildcats are coming off a 2021 campaign in which they went 41-15 and advanced to the Women’s College World Series for the 24th time.
With a 2021 freshmen class that featured Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Janelle Meono and other talents such as catcher Sharlize Palacios and Tucson High’s Carlie Scupin, Arizona appears to still be in very good hands as the program enters into a new era.