Pima softball coach Rebekah Quiroz was surrounded by more than 2,000 victories worth of knowledge at the college level Sunday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium between her father Armando Quiroz and Arizona coaching legend Mike Candrea — two coaches who have helped mold her in that profession.
The elder Quiroz accumulated a 501-197-2 record in 11 seasons with Pima before retiring after the 2018 season. Candrea owns a 1,611-418-2 record in 34 seasons at Arizona.
Rebekah Quiroz is 30-28 after her first season as head coach at Pima last yuear. Her team, comprised of many local standouts, was 11-1 in the fall before playing in the Arizona Fall Invitational this weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The Aztecs went 1-3 in the invitational, including a 13-0 loss to Arizona in five innings on Sunday, but the experience of playing in the historic park — where Rebekah Quiroz was part of the program in 2002 and 2003 — carried a lot of meaning.
.@PimaAthletics coach Rebekah Quiroz, a former Flowing Wells and Arizona player, talks about her Aztecs and what it is like coaching at Hillenbrand. She discusses what she learned playing under Mike Candrea. pic.twitter.com/vbEttcn2mg
“Every time we step on the field the one thing I learned from (Candrea) is as long as we have innings, we have an opportunity, we have a chance,” Quiroz said. “Whether we’re behind, whether we’re ahead in the count, coming from him, our mentality is as long as we have innings, we always have a chance to win.
“It starts here (pointing to her head) and the mentality is tough. Always bear down.”
.@PimaAthletics softball pitcher Jazmine Ayala, who won a LL Softball World Series with Sunnyside, and was highly successful with @_SHSSoftball talks about playing with the Aztecs this fall. pic.twitter.com/dC4328drPO
Quiroz is one of 10 head coaches who played for Candrea at Arizona. She was the most recent hire until former Sahuaro standout Gina Snyder was hired last month to be head coach of a college summer-league team at Manatee, Fla.
The opportunity to play at Hillenbrand the last two weekends for Pima — last week the Aztecs played a doubleheader against Western New Mexico there — is one the Aztecs welcomed because most of them have grown up watching games there.
“It’s overwhelming a little bit just because it’s a bigger stadium,” former Sunnyside ace Jazmine Ayala said of playing at Hillenbrand. “It’s really fun. It’s a good field. I really like it.”
Former Rio Rico ace Bianca Castillo, a sophomore who was 11-11 with a 4.91 ERA last season in 139 2/3 innings, said pitching at Hillenbrand is “amazing.”
.@PimaAthletics softball freshman catcher Mariah Bartlett of Las Cruces, N.M., talks about her transition to playing for Pima and coach Rebekah Quiroz this fall. Bartlett batted .412 with 10 HRs last year at Centennial HS in Las Cruces. pic.twitter.com/8KVXJrGd4b
“It’s a different feeling,” Castillo said. “I never imagined myself playing on this field. I am so lucky to be able to be playing on this field.”
Pima got two hits off Arizona starter Alyssa Denham and three relievers in the 13-0 loss. The Wildcats were led by home runs by Jessie Harper, Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza and Ivy Davis. Reliever Marissa Schuld also belted a bases-clearing triple. Schuld combined with three other pitchers to throw nine strikeouts with only one walk.
Arizona went 5-0 in the invitational and is 7-0 this fall. The Wildcats finish their fall schedule on Wednesday in a scheduled 10-inning game against. Central Arizona beginning at 6 p.m. at Hillenbrand.
FORMER ARIZONA ATHLETES WHO ARE HEAD COACHESList of head coaches of various sports and different levels who competed at Arizona.
|Amy Baray-Rocha||1999||Salpointe Catholic HS||Softball||2015|
|Adia Barnes||1995-99||Arizona||Women's hoops||2016|
|Marcus Bell||1996-99||Eagar Round Valley HS||Football||2011|
|Matt Brase||2003-05||Haiti National Team||Men's hoops||2017|
|Robert Bonillas||1995-98||Desert View HS||Football||2012|
|Tod Brown||1990-94||North Dakota State||Baseball||2007|
|Jackie Coburn||2002-05||Scottsdale Horizon HS||Softball||2013|
|Jay Dobyns||1982-84||Tanque Verde HS||Football||2020|
|Byron Evans||1983-86||South Mountain HS||Football||2020|
|Terry Francona||1977-80||Cleveland Indians||MLB||2013|
|Tanya Farhat-Villarreal||1994-97||West Bend (WI) Slinger HS||Softball||2015|
|Brenda Frese||1989-93||Maryland||Women's hoops||2002|
|Jason Hisey||1988-91||Canyon del Oro HS||Baseball||2019|
|Krista Humphreys||1993-96||Corona (CA) Centennial HS||Softball||2015|
|Stacey Iveson||1986-89||Israel National Team||Softball||2019|
|Mark Keel||1979-82||Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap HS||Football||2000|
|Steve Kerr||1983-88||Golden State Warriors||NBA||2014|
|Michael Klyce||2004-08||Los Angeles Locke HS||Football||2017|
|David Landrith||1980-83||Pusch Ridge HS||Baseball||2019|
|Hunter Long||2013-15||Douglas HS||Football||2019|
|Michael Lopez||2009-12||Big Spring (TX) Howard JC||Baseball||2020|
|Paige Maggio||2013-16||Mountain View HS||Girls soccer||2018|
|Brandon Manumaleuna||1997-00||Lawndale (CA) Leuzinger HS||Football||2020|
|Jennifer Martinez||2008-09||Abraham Baldwin (GA) JC||Softball||2017|
|Scott McKee||1999-02||Sahuaro HS||Football||2009|
|Craig McMillan||1984-88||Santa Rosa (CA) JC||Men's hoops||2000|
|Richard Mercado||2002-04||Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei HS||Baseball||2019|
|Leighton Milton||1992-93||Hollywood (CA) HS||Football||2020|
|Edwin Mulitalo||1995-98||Southern Virginia||Football||2018|
|Ronnie Palmer||2005-08||Monterrey Peninsula (CA) JC||Football||2020|
|Josh Pastner||1996-00||Georgia Tech||Men's hoops||2016|
|Jody Pruitt||1990-93||Peoria Sunrise Mountain HS||Softball||2011|
|Rebekah Quiroz||2002||Pima CC||Softball||2019|
|Danielle Steinberg||2005-09||Colorado||Women's tennis||2018|
|Gina Snyder||2018-19||Manatee (FL) Squeeze||Softball||2020|
|Jason Stewart||1997-99||Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito HS||Boys hoops||2014|
|Damon Stoudamire||1992-95||Pacific||Men's hoops||2016|
|Luke Walton||1999-03||Sacramento Kings||NBA||2019|
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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.