Year That Was 2021

Year That Was: September’s Top Five Developments in Southern Arizona



Many of Lute Olson’s players, friends and associates gathered for a ceremony at McKale Center honoring the late Lute Olson (Arizona photo)

During a memorial ceremony honoring the late Lute Olson on Sept. 12, former Arizona players and friends and associates of the Arizona program came, saw (one another) and concurred – Olson was more than a coach to them, but a friend, associate and a mentor for life. “I would just thank him,” Steve Kerr said when asked what he’d do or say if he would be able to talk to him. “Everybody here was impacted by him so dramatically. My life changed in an incredible fashion after coming to UA and playing for Coach O, learning everything I did from him. My whole professional career in basketball is really thanks to Coach.” That coming from a five-time NBA champion as a player and an NBA coach who has won another three NBA titles. Kerr and many others – Mike Bibby, Miles Simon, Jason Terry, Jud Buechler, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and so many more – were on hand to pay tribute to the man they played for in the 25 years he was a coach for UA. Videos came in from Arizona great Sean Elliott, former player turned coach Josh Pastner and former North Carolina coach Roy Williams.


Former Cienega standout Blaise Biringer

Former Cienega softball standout Blaise Biringer entered the transfer portal in early September with the intent to leave Ole Miss and the All-SEC Freshman standout found a spot with Arizona on Sept. 12. “I have decided to continue my academic and softball career at the University of Arizona,” Biringer said in a tweet. “I love what this program represents. Thank you Coach Cait (Caityln Lowe) for giving me such an amazing opportunity.”


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Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd announced Sept. 2 that Steve Robinson, a former head coach and long-time assistant coach at the Division I level, was named an assistant coach for the Wildcats. Robinson won three national championships as an assistant coach at North Carolina, where has spent the last 18 seasons as Roy Williams top assistant. In his 38 seasons as a head coach or assistant coach at the Division I level, Robinson has been to the NCAA Tournament 27 times. He’s won three national championships in eight Final Four appearance and claimed 15 conference regular season titles in addition to five conference tournament crowns. Lloyd also announced on Sept. 13 the addition of Riccardo Fois as an assistant coach for the Wildcats. Fois served as a player development coach for the Phoenix Suns the last two seasons and has experience on the coaching staff with the Italian national team.


Arizona graphic

Former Salpointe and Arizona standout golfer Trevor Werbylo was named Forme Tour Player of the Year on Sept. 13. Werbylo collected 981 points in eight events on the tour to earn the recognition. Werbylo won the Fuzzy Zoeller Classic at Covered Bridge Golf Club in August, earning $25,000 in the process. In all, Werbylo earned $39,800 on the Forme Tour. Golfers from 21 different countries took part in the newly-formed tour. Werbylo made his PGA Tour debut at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif., on Sept. 16-19. Werbylo automatically qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour.


Jedd Fisch (Arizona photo)

Arizona’s football team lost its 16th straight game in a 41-19 setback at Oregon on Sept. 25. The Wildcats started 0-4 in the Jedd Fisch era with losses to BYU on Sept. 4, San Diego State on Sept. 11, NAU on Sept. 18 and against Oregon. The Wildcats used their third starting quarterback against the Ducks — South Florida transfer Jordan McCloud — after Gunner Cruz and Will Plummer started previously. Stanley Berryhill III emerged as an All-Pac-12 candidate at receiver in September totaling 33 catches for 338 yards and one touchdown.

NEXT: A look at the top five developments of October 2021

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FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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