Aug. 27, 2008
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The Amateur Softball Association announced today that USA Softball Women's National Team head coach Mike Candrea (Tucson, Ariz.) will be retiring from the coaching reigns of the Women's National team effective immediately. The head coach since 2002, Candrea has led the U.S. team to one Olympic Gold Medal and most recently the Silver Medal finish at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
"It has been the highest honor to coach for the United States," said Candrea. "I wouldn't trade it for a minute. The experiences I have had through USA Softball and more importantly the relationships I have made with athletes and staff are wonderful. It's been a tremendous ride and blessing to be a part of all of this. But I am ready to settle down and begin my life at home and allow someone else this honor."
Candrea will continue his involvement with ASA/USA Softball through a series of educational roles to continue the development of the sport both domestically and internationally. From regional coaching clinics with ASA, to enhanced curriculum with the ASA's ACE Program to further enhancing ASA partnership's with Liberty Mutual Group and ResponsibleSports.com, Candrea will remain actively involved with the National Governing Body. Up next, he has a 10-day trip in September to do clinics in London and in Pisa, Italy with National Team member Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) in order to assist development in European areas where the sport needs grow. The IOC will vote in October 2009 on the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The IOC will also select the sports to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. The clinics are needed to bring awareness for the sport of softball to the European IOC voters.
"I am anxious to continue my involvement to help get this sport back in the Olympic Games," said Candrea. "We have 14 months to show the IOC that the sport of softball belongs at the Olympic level. I plan to assist in the education process for both athletes and coaches at all levels in order to keep the pipeline alive and healthy."
"Coach Candrea provided our Women's National Team program amazing stability and an expectation of greatness that will long be remembered," said Ron Radigonda, ASA's Executive Director. "His passion for making everyone better and drive towards excellence will be missed, but we are equally excited about the future and regaining our number one spot in the world next year during international play."
Candrea's resume with the USA Softball National team dates back to over a decade as an assistant coach in 1994 on the Women's World Championship team that captured the Gold Medal in Canada. Since that time, Candrea has been involved with over ten Women's National teams while taking over the head coach reigns for the 2002 World Championships. During his tenure, the U.S. has captured two World Championship Gold Medals, two Pan-American Gold Medals, two World Cup titles, one Olympic Gold Medal and one Olympic Silver Medal. (See below for complete USA Softball resume).
In 2004, he was awarded with the United States Olympic Committee's highest honor with the Olympic Shield award. An honor given in recognition for an individual's outstanding service to the USOC and the Olympic movement, Candrea is only the 45th person to receive this award since 1966. The first ever Olympic coach in the award's 39 year history, this honor has only been awarded on 12 occasions since its inception.
Candrea earned an associate's degree at Central Arizona College in 1975, a bachelor's degree at Arizona State in 1978 and a master's degree from ASU in 1980. Candrea was married to the former Sue Ellen Hudson for 28 years until her tragic death in July 2004, just 10 days prior to the Olympic Games. On Dec. 30, 2006, Candrea opened a new chapter of his life, as he wed the former Tina Tilton in Tucson, Arizona. Candrea has a son Mikel, 28, and daughter Michelle, 26, in addition to stepsons Ryan and Sean Tilton. Mikel is currently in his second year as an assistant softball coach at the University of the Pacific and Michelle works for Caterpillar. Michelle celebrated the birth of her son, Jaylen Mikel, on Oct. 27, 2005. Jaylen is Candrea's first grandchild. Ryan and Sean are both students at the University of Arizona.
CANDREA USA SOFTBALL RESUME
• Head Coach of USA National Team which won a Silver Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China
• Head Coach of USA National Team which captured Gold Medals at the Canada Cup, World Cup, Pan American Games and Japan Cup
• Head coach of USA National Team that won its first World Cup title with an undefeated record and defended its sixth consecutive World Championship Gold Medal in Beijing, China
• Head Coach of USA National Team who finished second in the World Cup and Japan Cup
• Head Coach of USA National Team who captured its third Olympic Gold Medal with a perfect 9-0 record; Team USA outscored opponents 51-1
• Head Coach of USA National Team that captured the Pan American Gold Medal in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
• Head Coach of USA National Team who claimed the World Championship Gold Medal in Saskatoon, S.K., Canada