CHULA VISTA, CALIF. ?- UA softball coach and 2004 USA Softball Olympic team head coach Mike Candrea was awarded the United States Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, the Olympic Shield on Wednesday (Jan. 5) in ceremonies here.
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 and the first-ever Olympic coach in the award’s 39-year history.
Candrea led the 2004 USA Softball team to one of the most prolific team performances in Olympic history. Persevering and battling during adverse times is just one of the many lessons taught both on and off the field by Candrea.
When he was selected to be the 2004 Olympic coach in May of 2002, Candrea set one goal and he accomplished it ?- working to have his team dominate. He led the United States to its third consecutive gold medal and the cover of Sports Illustrated as “The Real Dream Team.” One of the most dominating performances in Olympic history, he led the team to a 9-0 Olympic record, outscoring opponents 51-1.
Prior to the Games, Candrea and crew led his team across the nation in a 53- game “Aiming for Athens” pre-Olympic tour where they finished undefeated while visiting approximately 30 U.S. cities.
During the tour, on July 18, Candrea suffered personal tragedy with the sudden death of his wife, Sue, just 10 days before leaving for the Games in Athens, Greece. In awarding him the Shield, the USOC cited his strength and poise in overcoming the loss. “I dont want you to play for me or Sue during these Olympics, I want you to play for your country,” USOC officials said Candrea told the team before the Olympic competition.
OLYMPIC SHIELD AWARD WINNERS
In recognition of outstanding service to the United States Olympic Committee
1966 -- H. Jamison Swarts, USOC Executive Board member
1966 -- Thomas F. Lennon, Assistant Secretary for delegation to 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games
1966 -- Daniel J. Ferris, USOC Executive Board member
1966 -- James F. Simms
1969 -- Dr. Harry F. "Mickey" McPhee, Head physician at two Olympic Games
1969 -- Pincus Sober, USOC Executive Board member
1969 -- Albert Wheltle, Active in USOC for 20 years
1969 -- J. Lyman Bingham, USOC Executive Director (1950 65)
1969 -- Dr. Merritt Stiles, USOC Officer
1969 -- *Charles L. Ornstein, Active in USOC for 40 years
1969 -- Hon. Jeremiah T. Mahoney, USOC Executive Board member
1973 -- Lt. Gen. Henry W. Buse Jr., USOC Officer
1973 -- Hermann G. Rusch, Long time food director at Olympic Games
1981 -- Charles W. Buek, Investment Committee chair (1973 81)
1981 -- E. Newbold Black IV, USOC Officer
1981 -- Tenley Albright, USOC Officer
1981 -- Joel Ferrell Jr., USOC Officer
1983 -- Sen. Ted Stevens, Involved with Amateur Sports Act of 1978
1983 -- Patrick Sullivan, USOC Counselor
1983 -- George M. Wilson, USOC Executive Board member
1983 -- Edward H. Mosler Jr.
1985 -- William E. Simon, USOC President (1981-85)
1985 -- Harold "Hal" Henning, USOC Executive Board member
1985 -- Lawrence Hough, USOC Officer
1989 -- Andras Toro, USOC Officer
1989 -- Stephen B. Sobel, USOC Officer
1989 -- Evie G. Dennis, USOC Officer
1989 -- Howard C. Miller, USOC Officer
1989 -- Rudolph Sablo, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- Col. Don Hull, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- Richard Hollander, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- Stephen Lieberman, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- Daniel Steinman, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- Russell C. Dermond, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- Matthew Cusack, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark, USOC Executive Board member
1989 -- J. William Middendorf II, USOC Executive Board member
1990 -- Robert Sheppard, USOC Executive Board member
1990 -- Baaron Pittenger, USOC Executive Director
1996 -- Dr. Joe Kearney, Chair, USOC Games Preparation and Services Committee/Board of Directors member
1996 -- Dr. Alpha Alexander, USOC Member Services subcommittee chair/Board of Directors member
1997 -- Thomas F. Mack McLarty, counselor to President Bill Clinton; vice chair of the White House Task Force on the 1996 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games
1997 -- Greg Harney, Director of USOC International Games Preparation Division
2004 -- Bill Martin, Acting USOC President
2005 -- Mike Candrea, 2004 Olympic Women’s Softball Coach, Gold Medalists