Arizona athletes

Martinez’s hiring at Georgia junior college puts Arizona Wildcats as head coaches at 33

The hits keep coming for former Arizona softball players elevated to head coaching status.

UNLV’s hiring Thursday of former Arizona softball standout Kristie Fox brought to mind once again the large number of Wildcat athletes overall who hold a head coaching position.

Another former Mike Candrea-coached player at Arizona — Jennifer Martinez — was recently hired as the head coach at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, a junior college in Tifton, Ga.

Fox and Martinez are two of 33 former Arizona athletes who are a head coach.

Fox was the head coach at Texas-Arlington from 2012 before leaving to head the Running Rebels’ program.

Eight former Arizona players who excelled under Candrea are now head coaches either in college or high school.

One other former player who became a coach, Leticia Pineda-Boutté, who played at Arizona from 1995-98, resigned last May after 11 seasons at Washington-St. Louis.

Kristie Fox is in the middle of this photo with Caitlin Lowe on the left and Chelsie Mesa on the right, celebrating the 2006 NCAA title.

Fox, Debby Day and Martinez coach at the college level. Day, who played at Arizona from 1989-91, has coached Cal-Lutheran since 2002. Martinez, with Arizona in 2008 as a redshirt and 2009 as a senior after transferring from Cal State Dominguez Hills, starts her position at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on Aug. 1.

Former Arizona pitcher Jennifer Martinez was recently hired as the head coach at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga.

“I am so beyond excited for this opportunity,” Martinez said in a press release. “I have been dreaming of being a head coach my entire life.

“I want to remind the players that they are not too old to be students of the game. I don’t know everything about the sport, and I’m still learning alongside them. This will be a year of growth and figuring out ways to keep them motivated and engaged in the game. I know every coach’s goal is to win but I also want to make it fun for my team and help them to remember why they play.”

Five of Candrea’s former players coach at the high school level: Amy Baray-Rocha, Salpointe Catholic; Jackie Coburn, Scottsdale Horizon; Krista Humphreys, Corona (Calif.) Centennial; Danielle Rodriguez, Tucson; and Jody Pruitt, Peoria Sunrise Mountain.

FORMER ARIZONA ATHLETES AS CURRENT HEAD COACHES

High school boy’s basketball (3)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Mike Bibby 1996-98 Phoenix Shadow Mountain 2014
Kelvin Eafon 1995-98 Pueblo 2014
Jason Stewart 1997-99 Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito 2014

Men’s college basketball (4)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Jason Gardner 1999-03 IUPUI 2014
Craig McMillan 1984-88 Santa Rosa (CA) JC 2000
Josh Pastner 1996-00 Georgia Tech 2016
Damon Stoudamire 1992-95 Pacific 2016

Men’s professional basketball (4)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Matt Brase 2003-05 Rio Grande (D-League) 2015
Reggie Geary 1992-96 Nagoya (Japan) 2015
Steve Kerr 1983-88 Golden State (NBA) 2014
Luke Walton 1999-03 L.A. Lakers (NBA) 2016

College baseball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Tod Brown 1990-94 North Dakota State 2007
Bill Kinneberg 1979-80 Utah 2005

Professional baseball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Shelley Duncan 1999-01 Class A Visalia (CA) 2017
Terry Francona 1977-80 Cleveland (MLB) 2013

Women’s college basketball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Brenda Frese 1989-93 Maryland 2002
Adia Barnes 1995-99 Arizona 2016

High school football (8)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Marcus Bell 1996-99 Eager Round Valley 2011
Robert Bonillas 1995-98 Desert View 2012
Andy Litten 1999-2000 Marana 2011
Mark Keel 1979-82 Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap 2000
Scott McKee 1999-02 Sahuaro 2009
Clarence McRae 2003-04 Mountain View 2012
Antonio Pierce 1999-00 Long Beach Poly 2014
Brandon Sanders 1995-98 Pueblo 2014

College softball (3)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Debby Day 1989-91 Cal-Lutheran 2002
Kristie Fox 2004-07 UNLV 2017
Jennifer Martinez 2008-09 Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College 2017

High school softball (5)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Amy Baray-Rocha 1999 Salpointe 2015
Jackie Coburn 2002-05 Scottsdale Horizon 2013
Krista Humphreys 1993-96 Corona (Calif.) Centennial 2015
Danielle Rodriguez 2006-08 Tucson 2010
Jody Pruitt 1990-93 Peoria Sunrise Mountain 2011

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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