Stacy Redondo-Santa Cruz, a Cholla High School grad who went on to letter four years as a utility player with Mike Candrea’s softball program at Arizona from 1989 to 1993, has passed away at age 52 following a stroke.
Redondo-Santa Cruz was part of Arizona’s 1991 and 1993 national championship teams and later coached Salpointe Catholic to postseason appearances in 2013 and 2014.
“We are deeply saddened by the news today!” Candrea mentioned in a message. “Just a wonderful young lady that worked her tail off to represent our program and the University of Arizona.”
After earning a bachelor’s of arts degree in Education and Spanish at Arizona and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Development at NAU, Redondo-Santa Cruz became a longtime educator in Tucson.
Her background includes most recently teaching third grade at Roskruge Bilingual Magnet School. She also taught at the Drachman K-6 Montessori Magnet School.
She earned the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard Award in 2021 for her work at Roskruge, which was presented $1,900 in her honor.
“She was proud to represent Tucson and her students she taught received a gift that they will never forget! A true Wildcat forever!” Candrea stated.
Former Arizona teammate Susie Parra, a Pac-12 Hall of Famer, posted on Facebook: “WE LOVE U!” with a tag of “feeling heartbroken.”
Stacy Iveson, an Arizona assistant coach when Redondo-Santa Cruz played at Arizona, posted, “Shocked and so so sad.”
Another former Arizona teammate Marcie Aguilar: “My heart hurts so much.”
When Candrea retired in 2021, Redondo-Santa Cruz mentioned to AllSportsTucson.com’s Steve Rivera that the legendary coach was the “single-most influential man in my life” besides her father.
“When he first got to Tucson, he’d come watch my games at Cholla High,” Redondo-Santa Cruz said of Candrea. “He recruited me with such excitement about building a winning program at Arizona that it was infectious. I actually believed that I could be part of building that team.
“I couldn’t have been happier and prouder when that dream first came true in 1991 and then again in 1993. I love him dearly and wish nothing but happiness in retirement.”
Redondo-Santa Cruz has three children and a large direct and extended family in the Tucson area.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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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. 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.