Pima Community College sports

Pima Completes Fall Schedule Learning Where Its Coach Gained Knowledge from Arizona Wildcats Legend Mike Candrea


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.

Pima softball prepares to play Arizona on Sunday at Hillenbrand (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

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.

“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.”

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.”

“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 COACHES

List of head coaches of various sports and different levels who competed at Arizona.
NameUATeam SportStart
Amy Baray-Rocha1999Salpointe Catholic HSSoftball2015
Adia Barnes1995-99ArizonaWomen's hoops2016
Marcus Bell1996-99Eagar Round Valley HSFootball2011
Matt Brase2003-05Haiti National TeamMen's hoops2017
Robert Bonillas1995-98Desert View HSFootball2012
Tod Brown1990-94North Dakota StateBaseball2007
Jackie Coburn2002-05Scottsdale Horizon HSSoftball2013
Debby Day1989-91Cal-LutheranSoftball2002
Jay Dobyns1982-84Tanque Verde HSFootball2020
Byron Evans 1983-86South Mountain HSFootball2020
Terry Francona1977-80Cleveland IndiansMLB2013
Tanya Farhat-Villarreal1994-97West Bend (WI) Slinger HSSoftball2015
Brenda Frese1989-93MarylandWomen's hoops2002
Kristie Fox2004-07UNLVSoftball2017
Jason Hisey1988-91Canyon del Oro HSBaseball2019
Krista Humphreys1993-96Corona (CA) Centennial HSSoftball2015
Stacey Iveson1986-89Israel National TeamSoftball2019
Mark Keel1979-82Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap HSFootball2000
Steve Kerr1983-88Golden State WarriorsNBA2014
Bill Kinneberg1979-80UtahBaseball2005
Michael Klyce2004-08Los Angeles Locke HSFootball2017
David Landrith1980-83Pusch Ridge HSBaseball2019
Hunter Long2013-15Douglas HSFootball2019
Michael Lopez2009-12Big Spring (TX) Howard JCBaseball2020
Paige Maggio2013-16Mountain View HSGirls soccer2018
Brandon Manumaleuna1997-00Lawndale (CA) Leuzinger HSFootball2020
Jennifer Martinez2008-09Abraham Baldwin (GA) JCSoftball2017
Scott McKee1999-02Sahuaro HSFootball2009
Craig McMillan1984-88Santa Rosa (CA) JCMen's hoops2000
Richard Mercado2002-04Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei HSBaseball2019
Leighton Milton1992-93Hollywood (CA) HSFootball2020
Edwin Mulitalo1995-98Southern VirginiaFootball2018
Ronnie Palmer2005-08Monterrey Peninsula (CA) JCFootball2020
Josh Pastner1996-00Georgia TechMen's hoops2016
Jody Pruitt1990-93Peoria Sunrise Mountain HSSoftball2011
Rebekah Quiroz2002Pima CCSoftball2019
Danielle Steinberg2005-09ColoradoWomen's tennis2018
Gina Snyder2018-19Manatee (FL) SqueezeSoftball2020
Jason Stewart1997-99Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito HSBoys hoops2014
Damon Stoudamire1992-95PacificMen's hoops2016
Luke Walton1999-03Sacramento KingsNBA2019


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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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