Aug. 4, 2008
DAPHINE, Ala. -- United States Sports Academy Trustee Jack Scharr presented University of Arizona and USA Olympic Softball coach Mike Candrea with the Academy's Distinguished Service Award during a ceremony in St. Louis earlier this summer during the USA Softball team's pre-Olympic tour stop in Missouri.
Candrea led the Wildcats to back-to-back NCAA softball championships in 2006 and 2007. Along with eight national championships in the last 17 years, Candrea's credentials include 1,100 career Division I victories faster than any coach in history, rounding out that achievement with 19 trips to the Women's College World Series over the last 20 years.
Candrea spent the summer of 2006 leading Team USA to a World Cup of Softball title and a gold medal at the ISF World Championships in Beijing. Following Arizona's fall workouts, he coached the U.S. squad to victory in the Japan Cup, its third tournament title of the year. Two years earlier, his leadership helped propel the U.S. to a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Candrea will coach Team USA during the 2008 Beijing games as well.
The only year Arizona was absent from the WCWS, Candrea was at the helm of USA Softball's barnstorming tour that preceded its gold medal showing in Athens. He was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996, and since that time his teams have a record of 635-84.
The Distinguished Service Award is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research or service. The award has been presented by the Academy since 1984. Past honorees include Don Shula, Martina Navratilova, Pat Summitt, Eddie Robinson, George Steinbrenner and Bud Selig.
Candrea received the Academy's Order of the Eagle Exemplar medal and Academy Rosette. The Order of the Eagle Exemplar medallion was designed by the Academy's Sport Artist of the Year 1990, Blair Buswell. The Academy Rosette is modeled after the Legion of Honor instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. A rosette is a symbol of recognition and affiliation.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
Team USA opens Beijing Olympic play against Venezuela on August 11 at 9 p.m. Tucson time.