Arizona Softball

Caitlin Lowe ready for the moment as Arizona Wildcats softball coach

Arizona softball comes into the 2022 season with a new coach for the first time since 1986.

The legendary Mike Candrea retired after the 2021 season after coaching since 1986, and Caitlin Lowe became the new head coach after already being on the staff.

She and her players met with the local media Tuesday at Hillenbrand Stadium during Media Day.

Arizona also comes into the season with pretty high expectations after being picked third in the conference by the coaches, and Division I softball has them ranked No. 15.

Lowe’s playing career is well-known and legendary.

She’s a former gold medal Olympian in 2008, as well as a four-time first team All-American and a winner of back-to-back College World Series championships in 2006 and 2007.

Her coaching career began in 2014, and she became a full-time member of the staff in 2015. This year will be her first as a head coach at any level.

She was hand-picked by Candrea to succeed him.

Lowe said about Candrea’s support, “He was here early and at every game in the fall, and he’s just a big supporter, and even this past week he said, ‘Okay let me see your starting lineup.’ I love bouncing things off of him, and I love having his perspective on things, especially maybe even more now because he’s an outsider to it. I love anything he can give me as far as insight. Overall, I’m very excited, and regardless, he will be a big part of this season too.”

Lowe’s team this year is young and it seems like it’s a perfect time to now integrate a new coaching staff too.

Taryne Mowatt-McKinney remains on the staff as the pitching coach. Lauren Lappin is a newcomer on the staff who was the head coach for the Chicago Bandits for two years and an assistant coach for University of Missouri-St. Louis softball for five years.

Ray Camacho returns as volunteer assistant coach and Stacie Iveson will continue as director of recruiting and operations.

Candrea is listed a “special advisor to the head coach.”

Lowe talked about the team and the coaches growing together through the season when she said, “We are kind of new in every department. We have new assistant coaches, new facilities, new strength and conditioning coach and athletic trainer. It’s all-around, so everyone’s young, hungry and excited. I think it’s honestly kind of the perfect situation because we are stepping into this new and we also have a young roster.”

Lowe was also extremely excited to be able to coach her alma mater as well and can’t wait to get started.

Expectations are always high with Arizona softball and this season is no different.

Lowe emphasized that she wants to see how the team can respond to those expectations, and it starts right off the bat with a game the first weekend of the season against arguably the best team in the country, No. 2 Alabama.

The Crimson Tide plays Arizona on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium as part of the Candrea Classic. Arizona first plays Southern Utah on Friday at 6 p.m. The Wildcats’ third game is Sunday at 2 p.m. against New Mexico.

The season opener is Thursday at 6 p.m. at Hillenbrand against Southern Utah.

She emphasized that she wants to see who’s ready for the moment off the bat with that game.

A big theme throughout Media Day was the promise of fans coming back for an entire season after COVID-19 restrictions last year. Fans attended games as last season went on.

The players that spoke and Lowe all talked about how excited they are that fans can finally come back and watch games at Hillenbrand Stadium.

“You never know what you got til it’s gone, and we really missed the fans,” Lowe said.


Jake Faigus, a Phoenix native, is a senior at the University of Arizona majoring in journalism and minoring in sports management. He also has written for the student newspaper, The Daily Wildcat, as well as the Arizona Fansided blog, Zona Zealots. Jake is also the stepson of former University of Arizona football player Heath Bray, a member of the famed Desert Swarm defense in the early 1990s.

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