As a new feature this year, AllSportsTucson.com is taking a look back at the top local developments monthly. With June 2021 now in the books, we recount the important events of the sixth month of the year.
MOST NEWSWORTHY DEVELOPMENTS
After arriving in Tucson in 1985, and taking over a program that was not close to being on the radar nationall, Arizona coach Mike Candrea announced his retirement June 7. “It has been an honor to represent the University of Arizona for 36 years,” said Candrea. “I am indebted to every player, coach and member of my support staff that has made the Arizona softball experience one that I will cherish forever. When I arrived in 1985, I wanted to build a culture of excellence and compete consistently at the highest levels of Division 1 softball. Most of all, our goa was to prepare our student-athletes for life after softball and build relationships that would last a lifetime.” During Candrea’s time in Tucson, he turned Arizona softball into the gold standard, racking up 1,647 wins, making an NCAA record 34-straight postseasons, 24 appearances in the Women’s College World Series, and winning the national title eight times. He was also the U.S. Olympic coach in 2004 (winning the gold that year in Athens) and 2008.
LSU hired Jay Johnson away from Arizona on June 24 with a base contract of $1.4 million contract. His base salary at Arizona is close to $550,000. Johnson, 44, went 208-114 with two College World Series appearances in six years. “This is the opportunity of my lifetime,” Johnson said during his introductory press conference at LSU. “A lot of people will look at it and go, wait, why did you do that? What are you doing? You are a West Coast guy. That’s comfortable. That’s not what I’m about. You stare down the challenge of that, you figure out how to put the pieces in place to be successful, and then we’re going for it.” Arizona team finished 45-18 this season and won the Pac-12 title, the program’s first outright conference title since 1992. Arizona played in Omaha in Johnson’s first season in 2016, when the Wildcats lost in the championship series in three games against Coastal Carolina. LSU had a vacancy when Paul Mainieri retired after 15 seasons with the Tigers. He made five trips to the College World Series and won the championship in 2009. Nate Yeskie, Arizona’s high-profile pitching coach the last two seasons, also left to become Texas A&M’s pitching coach. Johnson is the first Arizona baseball coach to leave for another coaching job. J.F. “Pop” McKale, Frank Sancet, Jerry Kindall, Jerry Stitt and Andy Lopez all retired from coaching when they left the program. Hours after news broke of Johnson’s hire, 2022 infielder Mikey Romero flipped from Arizona to LSU. Twelve Arizona players reportedly entered the transfer portal, including All-American infielder Jacob Berry.
Tucson High graduate Delaney Schnell of Arizona and Jessica Parratto (Indiana) scored 930 points to claim the top spot at the Women’s Synchronized 10-Meter Platform trials held in Indianapolis on June 11, qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. A day later, Schnell won the individual 10-meter Platform to qualify for the Olympics in that event. Schnell was in third place after the first round but she moved up to the second spot after round two, 14.3 points behind Murphy Bromberg. Schnell pulled ahead of the field in the next round by 3.85 points and she came away with the victory with 1021.90 points to 984.70 for Katrina Young. “Honestly, it hasn’t hit me yet, I said this before, but it doesn’t feel real yet,” Schnell told TeamUSA, “It’s a lifelong dream of mine first with gymnastics and then diving. It’s crazy to say that I finally done it.” The Tokyo Olympics are slated to being on July 23. Schnell joins former Sabino softball standout Kelsey Harshman at the Olympics. Harshman qualified for the Olympics as a member of Team Canada in softball competition. Former Canyon del Oro baseball standout Ian Kinsler is scheduled to play for Team Israel. Schnell won an AIA state high school diving championship for Tucson. Abdi Abdirahman made the USA Olympic Team as a distance runner but the Tucson High grad did not compete in high school.
Following the retirement of Candrea on June 7, Arizona Athletics announced later that day the promotion of Caitlin Lowe to become the head coach. One of the best players in Arizona history and the history of the sport, Lowe has spent the last nine seasons under Candrea and will now become the Wildcats’ seventh head coach in program history. “Coach Candrea has built a culture of excellence that puts his players at the forefront,” said Lowe. “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. Bear Down!”
Arizona’s baseball team gave Ole Miss a hard punch in Game One, the Rebels responded with their best cuts in Game Two, and after 46 runs scored in the Tucson Super Regional, it was the Wildcats who delivered the knockout blow in Game Three on June 12. Arizona qualified for its 18th College World Series and third in the last nine years with its 16-3 victory over Ole Miss of the big, bad SEC. The Wildcats advanced to their second College World Series under Johnson in his sixth year, topping legendary coaches Jerry Kindall and Andy Lopez with that feat. It took Kindall seven years to reach his second CWS and Lopez 11 years at Arizona.
The Southern Arizona High School Football All-Star Showcase took place June 4 at Tucson High School. Recently graduated Walden Grove placekicker/punter Adrian Alvarado embodied the spirit of what the showcase was all about. His season was cut short to only three games because of COVID-19, a horrendous disease that unfortunately claimed the life of his father Raul in December. Talk about having to persevere through a difficult time in a young person’s life. The nearly 80 players who participated in the game each faced their own tribulations during the pandemic, some with their entire season canceled. Many of the players were denied the experience of completing their careers appropriately. Local businesses and the Arizona Bowl made it possible for them to have that one last chance on a high school football field with positive lasting memories. “Even though it’s tough, I still went through it and I did it for him,” Alvarado said of his dad, a monitor at Walden Grove who was highly popular at the school over the last decade. I’m not going to back down from any challenge.” Alvarado’s 42-yard field goal and his four punts that averaged 43 yards, including a 63-yarder that pinned the Blue team at its 1-yard line, were significant in the Red team (coached by Salpointe legend Dennis Bene) prevailing 10-5 in front of close to 2,000 fans at Gridley Stadium.
Arizona lost its Women’s College World Series elimination game 4-3 to Florida State on July 5 to end its season 41-15 after making the program’s 24th Women’s College World Series appearance. Arizona led for a majority of the game but kept on coming up short with runners in scoring position at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. That came back to haunt Arizona as the Seminoles with two outs in the sixth got a three-run home run from hitter Dani Morgan that barely went over the glove of leftfielder Janelle Meoño off of pitcher Mariah Lopez to take a late 3-2 lead. Arizona’s Reyna Carranco was able to tie the game at 3, doubling up the middle and scoring Meoño from first, giving her team another opportunity. In the next half-inning, Florida State was able to get runners on the corners with one out, and hitter Cassidy Davis hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field to eliminate the Wildcats.
The Arizona baseball season came to an end in Omaha, Neb., on June 21 in a 14-5 loss at the hands of Pac-12 foe Stanford. Arizona, which finished 45-18, was held to just seven hits, while allowing 20 to Stanford hitters, who from the first pitch came out swinging. Johnson remained proud of the way his team continued to fight, even being down 10-0 against a good Stanford team. “I was really proud of them for that,” he said. “We just couldn’t keep them off the board, in the ballpark, off the barrel of the bat. And it made it really difficult to get any solid momentum in coming back.” Donta’ Williams, who first visited Arizona during his junior year of high school in 2015 on an un-official visit, said that what he will miss the most is the time spent with his teammates, both on the field and in the facilities at Hi Corbett Field. “I mean, from the locker room, weight room, the competitiveness, the music in the hitting facility. Every day they just come out and give everything that they have, and that’s why we’re in this situation,” Williams said. “I’m blessed to be part of this team. I’m very grateful with the group of men that we have and what they developed to become.”
Former Canyon del Oro and Arizona thrower Turner Washington brought home the NCAA Division I championship with a mark of 21.10 meters (69 feet, 2.75 inches) in the shot put on June 10 at the Outdoor Championships taking place Eugene, Ore., and he followed that up with a championship in the discus on Friday with a toss of 63.42/208-1. Classified as a sophomore ASU, Washington won the Indoor title in March. His victory in the shot put and discus automatically qualifies him as a First Team All-American. Arizona junior thrower Jordan Geist came in third place with a mark of 20.71 (66-11.25). Washington set an indoor Shot Put record of 21.81 (71-6.75) in the spring.
Former Sunnyside standout Roman Bravo-Young was named the Penn State Male Athlete of the Year on June 28. He ended the 2020-21 year with a 14-0 record and was a Hodge Trophy finalist. His accolades over the course of last season included winning his first Big Ten title at 133 in the Bryce Jordan Center, All-America laurels by virtue of his national title and first-team All-Big Ten honors. He heads into his senior season with a 588-9 career record, including four pins, six technical falls and 17 majors.
OTHER TOP DEVELOPMENTS
— Arizona third baseman Tony Bullard was been the final Pac-12 Player of the Week for the 2021 season on June 1. Across three games in the regular season finale against Dixie State, he logged a .500 (6-for-12) batting average with three runs scored, two doubles, two home runs (one grand slam), six RBIs, a 1.167 slugging percentage, and a .500 on-base percentage. Bullard’s standout performances pushed Arizona to the 40-win mark in the regular season for just the 13th time in program history.
— Four Wildcats — Alyssa Denham, Jessie Harper, Janelle Meoño and Dejah Mulipola — were named NFCA All-Americans, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced on June 2. Mulipola was a unanimous first-team selection, earning her second consecutive NFCA Catcher of the Year honor. Denham, Harper and Meoño were all third-team selections. The four All-America honors brings Arizona’s total to 109 in school history. It also marks the third time in the last four seasons that Arizona has had at least four All-Americans.
— Arizona Athletics, in conjunction with Pima County Health and the University of Arizona, announced June 2 that it is planning for 100 percent capacity for home football games at Arizona Stadium this fall with the resumption of tailgating on campus as well. Arizona Athletics will continue to follow the University of Arizona’s COVID-19 administrative directive for masks and face coverings on campus with regards to football fan attendance in the fall.
— The 4A-5A-6A Senior All-Star Game, presented by the Kino Baseball League, took place June 2 at Kino Stadium with 36 standouts from 18 different high schools from Southern Arizona taking part. The players were divided between two teams with coaches from the Kino Sun Belt College League serving as coaches for the two squads. The 1A-3A All-Star Game took place a day later under the same format. Bill Leith, the head of the Kino Baseball League, also produced the Softball Senior All-Star Games on June 3. These events were canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19.
— Former Canyon del Oro standout Tristan Peterson (Washington State) was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team on June 3 as an infielder and former Ironwood Ridge standout Nate Baez (ASU) earned Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention honors. Peterson earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 team in his only season with the Cougars after transferring from New Mexico State where he was an All-American in 2019. Peterson finished the season second on the team with 17 doubles, tied for second with seven home runs and was third on the team with 37 RBI. In Pac-12 play, Peterson hit .317 with nine doubles, a team-high five home runs and drove in 22 runs.
— Banner day for Arizona baseball on June 3 as nine Wildcats were honored with 12 postseason awards in the Pac-12, highlighted by the selection of Daniel Susac as Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and head coach Jay Johnson as Pac-12 Coach of the Year. In addition to Arizona’s two major award winners, Chase Silseth, Donta Williams, Susac, Jacob Berry, and Branden Boissiere were selected to the Pac-12 All-Conference team. Williams and Susac were also tabbed to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Ryan Holgate, Vince Vannelle, and Kobe Kato all earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention recognition.
— Arizona’s Baby Bombers, true freshmen Berry and Susac, kicked off the awards season strongly earning All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball on June 3. Susac, a designated hitter, earned first team recognition while Susac, a catcher, was tabbed to the second team. It is the first All-America recognitions in both of their careers. The announcement marks the first time a Wildcat has earned first team honors from Collegiate Baseball since Alex Mejia in 2012 and the third time under Johnson that Arizona has landed multiple players on the publication’s All-America teams.
— News of the passing of former Coolidge High School and Arizona basketball standout Robbie Dosty came out June 4. Dosty, who was drafted into the NBA after his career with Arizona, passed away from cancer. He was 62.“Robbie is without question the greatest basketball player to ever wear a Coolidge uniform,” Coolidge coach Dave Glasgow mentioned. Dosty starred on Joe Partain’s first state championship team at Coolidge in 1975-76 and is still the school’s career leading rebounder with 648. He was an all-state selection in 1974-75 and 1975-76. After serious rollover automobile accident during his Arizona career, Dosty produced a storybook comeback in his career, averaging 13.4 points and 6.6 rebounds a game as a senior in 1980-81. The Golden State Warriors selected him the fourth round and later waived him during training camp. He went into insurance-adjustment and became a business owner. Since 2000, he operated Robbie D. Dosty & Associates, a financial services and client consulting business based in Tucson.
— Cholla High School and Pima College standout Marcel Dean signed with NAIA program Kansas Wesleyan on June 5. Dean, a freshman guard, will play with the Coyotes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. He played and started in all five games last season as he led the ACCAC in scoring, averaging 19.4 points per game. He also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Dean scored a season-high 40 points on 14-for-22 shooting at Eastern Arizona College on March 27.
— Former Cienega High School and Pima College standout Isaiah Murphy is continuing his ascent in professional basketball by earning the honor of the Best Five Rookies selection of the Japanese B.League on June 5. He averaged 9.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists a game for the Hiroshima Dragonflies. He also shot 39.5 percent from the field. “I thank not only Hiroshima fans, but all of the B.League fans,” Murphy said in a statement issued by the Dragonflies. “I thank the coaching staff and my teammates to win the rookie award as the best five. The four other players selected are all really wonderful players. I will practice hard so that I can have a better season next season.”
— Former Buena softball standout Brianna Hardy was selected the NFCA NJCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year on June 6 and then was chosen the NJCAA Female Student Athlete of the Year on June 17. Hardy helped lead Phoenix College to win the 2021 NJCAA Division II Softball Championship title in May. The Bears put together an incredible seventh-inning comeback against Jones (MS), scoring three runs with two outs to take the lead and clinch the title. Hardy pitched the full seven innings in the national final game, leaving the circle with eight strikeouts. At the national tournament, Hardy earned Most Valuable Player honors. During the regular season, Hardy’s pitching resume will be remembered as one of the most dominant seasons in NJCAA softball history. The sophomore earned 32 wins and one save inside the circle throughout Phoenix’s 45-game schedule. Hardy led the NJCAA in six major pitching categories including wins (32), complete games (27), shutouts (14), strikeouts (325), strikeouts per game (12.10), and earned run average (1.08).
— Legendary distance runner Bernard Lagat was named head coach of the Arizona cross country program and will remain an assistant track & field coach, the school announced June 8. Lagat served as an assistant coach for both cross country and track & field this season. “It is an incredible honor to have one of the world’s all-time great runners lead our storied distance program here at Arizona,” director of track & field and cross country Fred Harvey said. “Bernard is a true legend in the world of distance running and his knowledge and personality will draw the best runners in the world to the University of Arizona. Historically, we have one of the best distance programs in America, and I believe Bernard will take us to that level.”
— The Pima men’s soccer team’s 2020-21 season came to a close on June 9 in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament semifinals. The No. 1 seeded Aztecs were upset by No. 5 seed Southeastern Community College (Iowa) 3-1 at the Stryker Complex in Wichita, Kan. Down 1-0, the Aztecs held offensive possession for much of the second half but could not convert on goal opportunities. The Blackhawks (16-2-1) scored two goals late in the game when Bart Muns scored on a header in the 83rd minute and Yohan Bernard hit a shot in the 84th. The Aztecs got on the scoreboard when sophomore Seungeon Kim was fouled in the box. He scored on a penalty kick with 2:11 left in the game. It was Kim’s 15th goal of the season.
— Former Arizona softball players Dejah Mulipola and Jessie Harper are staying with the program as graduate assistants it was reported on June 10. During Mulipola and Harper’s time playing with Arizona, the Wildcats went an impressive 206-57 with five postseason appearances and two back-to-back Women’s College World Series. Harper established herself as one of Arizona’s best power hitters of all time, tying the school record of 92 home runs held by Katiyana Mauga. For her career, she batted .339 with 281 hits, 255 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .745 while posting a fielding percentage of .969. Mulipola, who will participate in the 2022 Tokyo Olympics as a member of Team USA, finished her Arizona career winning back-to-back NCFA Catcher of the Year awards. While with the Wildcats, she batted in 68 home runs while hitting .336 with 203 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .719.
— Arizona head men’s tennis coach Clancy Shields agreed to a contract extension through the 2026 season, the school reported June 10. Shields, who has been named Pac-12 Coach of the Year each of the last two seasons, has led Arizona to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 2010. “Clancy continues to elevate and grow Arizona Men’s Tennis into a program of national distinction, winning back-to-back Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors and guiding our program to its first-ever Sweet 16,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said. “After turning Arizona Men’s Tennis from a program on the rise to an elite program, Clancy has created an atmosphere of excellence that produces outstanding success on the court, in the classroom and in the community. I look forward to seeing our men’s tennis program sustain that excellence for years to come.”
— Former Cienega standout Breanna “Breezy” Hayward was the only player from Southern Arizona placed on the 2021 Premier Girls Fastpitch Futures All-American Game Watch List in March and it was announced June 10 she earned a spot on the final roster of the High School All-Star Game set for July 31 to be shown on ESPNU. Arizona commits Logan Cole (Salpointe/SS/OF) and Sr. Dakota Kennedy (Folsom, Calif./OF) were later scheduled to compete in the game. Hayward was the 2021 4A-6A Southern Arizona Player of the Year. Arizona commit Paige Dimler (OF: Rancho Buena Vista, CA) also made the All-Star list along with Phoenix O’Connor infielder Rylee Holtorf (Washington) and Scottsdale Horizon infielder Spencer Prigge (Arkansas). Hayward will be playing for Texas Tech. Hayward, Dimler, Holtorf and Prigge will play for the West Team. Coaches for the game include former Arizona standouts Jennie Finch, Toni Mascarenas and Lovieanne Jung.
— Arizona track and field wrapped up day three of the NCAA Championships on June 11 where the men’s 4×400 relay team highlighted the day after improving their school record time. The team of Umajesty Williams, Calvin Wilson, Isaac Davis and Johnnie Blockburger finished sixth in the 4×400 relay finals, clocking a time of 3:03.58 to improve their own school record.
— Former Ironwood Ridge standout Nick Estrella was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings NCAA Div. II All-West Region as an infielder on June 14. The Azusa Pacific senior went 4-1 on the mound and he batted .293 with 27 RBI and 10 home runs. Estrella was also named to the West Region as a Utility Player by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA).
— Former Flowing Wells standout Karena Garcia was named the Smith College Student Athlete of the Year on June 14. After graduating from Flowing Wells, she took her abilities to the next level at Smith College where she competed in cross country, basketball and track & field at a high level. Garcia also performed at a very high level in the classroom. She carried an impressive 3.80 GPA in Engineering while also completing three high-level internships including one at the University of Arizona with the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department. She has been accepted to the Navy Officer Candidate School.
— Kyle Howell, who coached Sabino to the 3A softball state title last month and served as the school’s athletic director over the last two school years, left the Sabercats on June 15 to become the golf coach and a health teacher at Mica Mountain. Howell stated via text message that he will also serve as an assistant to Campos and athletic director Whitney Holland at Mica Mountain, a Vail Unified School District school that will be in its second year of existence in 2021-22. “My goal and that of our administration was to have me fill an assistant principal role at Sabino,” mentioned Howell, who is completing master’s degree courses in Educational Administration at Grand Canyon University. “While working through the process, it became evident that without more teaching experience, that would not be possible. Our admin team and coaches at Sabino were so supportive through this process. This opportunity at Mica combines the teaching position, coaching and serving in an assistant capacity to Whitney Holland and Jay Campos. I’m excited to join the Vail community and Mica Mountain team.”
— Nick Mata, a standout outside hitter for Rincon/University who started coaching the Rangers two years after he graduated in 2012, was hired as George Mason’s head coach on June 15. While in college, Mata became Rincon’s head coach in 2014 and was a standout for Arizona’s Men’s Club Volleyball team. He also started coaching the Arizona Women’s Club Volleyball team. He was a volunteer assistant coach for Dave Rubio in 2018 and he was hired in 2019 to serve as the Arizona volleyball and Arizona beach volleyball director of operations. He also found time to assist with the Canyon del Oro Beach volleyball program. “First and foremost, I would like to thank Aylene (Ilkson), Nena (Rogers), Jordan (Glass), and everyone involved in the hiring process for giving me this incredible opportunity to become a part of the Mason women’s volleyball program,” said Mata in a release from George Mason. “I’d also like to thank the staff here at Arizona for supporting me in my pursuit to become an assistant coach. My career in volleyball has taken me down many different paths, but I can wait to start down my new path at George Mason! I can’t wait to hit the ground running with Aylene and this program!”
— After finishing her six-year career at Arizona, Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza continued her softball career with the USSSA Pride after signing on June 15. Palomino-Cardoza battled through two torn ACLs during her Arizona career finished her career batting .343 in 743 at-bats with 69 home runs, 224 RBIs while playing in 252 games for the Wildcats. A day later, the USSSA Pride announced the signing Jessie Harper. Also on that team is former Arizona standout Chelsea Goodacre. During her time at Arizona, Harper tied the school record for home runs at 92, tying Katiyana Mauga and finishing second for the all-time NCAA softball record behind Oklahoma hitter Lauren Chamberlain.
— Former Palo Verde standout Bryce Cotton earned his third MVP Award on June 16 playing for the Perth Wildcats of Australian’s National Basketball League (NBL). Cotton tallied 112 votes beating out Tyler Harvey (74 points) to win his third MVP award in four years. He was also named MVP by the Fans of the NBL for the second time. Cotton was also placed on the All-NBL First Team. Cotton averaged 23.5 points a game to become the NBL scoring champion for the third straight year.
— All-American and longtime pro Becca Moros was hired June 10 as Arizona soccer’s head coach (replacing Tony Amato, who left to Florida). Moros has been an assistant coach for Gotham FC in the NWSL. Moros was a standout student-athlete at Duke, where she was an All-American and a three-time All-ACC selection. She also competed for the U-21 U.S. Women’s National Team in 2006 and was a team captain during her senior season. After her college career was over, Moros was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft by the Washington Freedom. She went on to play three years in the WPS, two years in the Nadeshiko League in Japan and six years in the NWSL.
— Former Catalina Foothills golfer Gavin Cohen was named to the West Coast Conference Men’s Golf All-Academic Team playing for Loyola Marymount on June 18.
— Former Rincon/UHS standout defender Sam Lossou was named a United Soccer Coaches All-American on June 18 for his efforts with Pima this past year. Lossou is committed to Alabama at Birmingham. Kim was also named an All-American. He was also selected ACCAC Player of the Year, first team All-ACCAC and first team NJCAA Region I, Division II.
— Arizona named Lauren Lappin as an assistant on June 22 to fill its coaching staff after Lowe was named the program’s new head coach. Lappin has an outstanding softball resume, including playing at Stanford, NPF experience, and Team USA. She also has eight years of coaching experience in the NCAA, the NPF, and Athletes Unlimited. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to join the Arizona Wildcat softball family and the entire UA community,” said Lappin, a former Stanford standout. “Caitlin Lowe is one of the best leaders and humans in our sport and I feel incredibly honored to join this amazing staff to carry on the rich tradition of Arizona Softball. I cannot wait to get to Tucson, meet the team, and Bear Down!” As the head coach of the Chicago Bandits, Lappin led the team to the title of NPF 2019 Regular Season Champions and was awarded NPF Coaching Staff of the Year in 2019 with fellow coaches Amber Flores and Lance McMahon. With Athletes Unlimited, Lappin acted as a facilitator to act as a mentor and support the athletes and captains.
— Arizona men’s golf coach Jim Anderson agreed to terms on a new contract on June 24 to lead the program through the 2024 season. Anderson was the 2021 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and guided the Wildcats to their first Pac-12 championship since 2004. The 2020-21 season, Anderson’s ninth as head coach, was a banner season of championship success on the course and in the classroom. In addition to winning the Pac-12 Championship as a team, Brad Reeves won the individual championship en route to becoming Arizona’s first Pac-12 Golfer of the Year since Chris Nallen in 2004. Reeves was a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection alongside Trevor Werbylo, and the tandem of David Laskin and Chase Sienkiewicz were named to the All-Pac-12 second team. Nallen, an assistant, announced June 16 he was leaving the program to pursue a pro golfing career.
— Arizona coach Adia Barnes completed her coaching staff on June 24 with the hiring of Ashley Davis as assistant coach. Davis has coached at Oklahoma State for the last six seasons. She replaced April Phillips, who rejoined Arizona briefly after a stint with Cal to become part of Texas’ coaching staff. In her six seasons at Oklahoma State, the Cowgirls played in three NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT. She helped coach four All-Americans, five All-Big 12 selections, three WNBA Draft picks and five 1,000-point scorers during her time in Stillwater. Davis also helped recruit and coach Braxtin Miller, who was on the Big 12 All-Freshman team and became an All-American.
— Copper Hills captured the District 12 Little League Intermediate 50/70 championship on June 24 beating Cactus 2-0 in a best-of-three format.
— Jim Hoffman, the unsung yet dominating defensive tackle who was part of Arizona’s Desert Swarm defense in the early 1990’s, passed away at age 48 on June 27. Hoffman, was not heavily recruited out of Spring Valley (Calif.) Mount Miguel High School, when he joined Dick Tomey’s program in 1990. He evolved into a highly productive complement alongside Rob Waldrop, Tedy Bruschi, Ty Parten and Jimmie Hopkins on the defensive line, one that contributed to Arizona allowing only 65.1 rushing yards per game in 1992 and an unreal 30.1 yards rushing a game a season later. Hoffman was one of the members of Desert Swarm on the famous cover of Sports Illustrated College Football Preview edition in 1994 that included Sanders, Bruschi, Tony Bouie and Sean Harris. The title was “Rock Solid — Arizona is No. 1.”
— Following a third consecutive deep postseason run, Arizona women’s golf coach Laura Ianello agreed to a five-year extension on June 28 that will keep her at her alma mater through the 2026 season. Ianello guided the Wildcats to the 2018 national championship and made Arizona women’s golf the only program in the nation to reach the semifinals of match play in each of the last three NCAA Championships.
— Former Salpointe and Arizona standout Trevor Werbylo shot a 16-under-par 272 to take second place at the L&J Golf Championship played at the Jennings Mill Country Club in Georgia on June 29. Werbylo tied former New Mexico standout Samuel Saunders after shooting a 6-under 66 on Saturday but Saunders went on to capture the playoff. Saunders won $20,000 and Werbylo took home $12,000.
— Marana won the District 5 Little League Majors softball championship on June 29 by beating Thornydale 2-0 in a best-of-three format.
— Sunnyside won the District 12 Little League Majors softball championship on June 29 with a 15-2 win over San Xavier.
— Oro Valley won the District 5 Little League Majors baseball title on June 29 with a 10-7 win over Marana.
— Thornydale won the District 5 Little League Juniors softball title on June 29 with a 28-19 win over Flowing Wells.
— Canyon View won the District 5 Little League 8-9-10 baseball title on June 29 with a 20-4 win over Tanque Verde.
— Canyon View won the District 5 Little League 9-10-11 baseball title on June 29 with a 7-0 win over CDO.
— Continental Ranch won the District 5 Little League Intermediate 50/70 championship on June 29 beating Western 2-0 in a best-of-three format.
— FC Tucson president Amanda Powers fired manager John Galas on June 29 after the team started 2-4-3 record through the first nine games in 2021. FC Tucson is currently in 11th place in the 12-team USL 1. Jon Pearlman, the team’s director of soccer operations, took over on an interim basis.
— Arizona guard Shaina Pellington was named on June 29 to the Canadian basketball team that will compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Canada, ranked No. 4 in the world, will begin play in he Olympics on July 26 against Serbia. Their next two games will be July 29 against the Republic of Korea and Aug. 1 against Spain. Pellington’s news came four days after teammate Helena Pueyo was named to Spain’s national U20 team.
— Former Arizona post player Deandre Ayton qualified for his first NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns on June 30. They defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in six games in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals. He averaged 17.8 points and 14 rebounds a game against the Clippers.
— Salpointe volleyball standout Brandy Kishbaugh to North Carolina–Asheville on June 14.
— Former Sahuaro lineman Kingsley Ugwu (Hutchinson, Kan., JC) to Kansas State on June 18.
— Twins Peyton Pelletier (Ironwood Ridge QB) and Parker Pelletier (Salpointe DB) to Los Angeles Pierce College on June 28.
A LOOK BACK
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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.