USA Softball has announced the selection of Mike Candrea as the head coach for the 2007 USA Softball Women’s National Team that will attempt to win its second consecutive World Cup of Softball and its sixth consecutive Pan American Games gold medal this summer.
Candrea, currently the head coach at the University of Arizona, led the USA to a third consecutive gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and most recently to its sixth consecutive ISF World Championship title in 2006 and its first World Cup title.
Since arriving on the campus of the University of Arizona, Candrea has developed the Wildcat softball program into a perennial powerhouse. Entering his 21st year of coaching this season at Arizona, Candrea has won a whopping 1081 games for an overall mark of 1081-214 and a winning percentage of .835.
”Mike Candrea has proven that he has the ability to take the USA program to the highest level and maintain that success,” said ASA Executive Director Ron Radigonda. “USA Softball has thrived under Mike’s leadership and we have no doubt he will have the team ready to defend its gold medal in Oklahoma City at the World Cup and Rio de Janeiro at the Pan Am Games.”
Assistant Coaches for the 2007 USA Softball Women's National Team will be Chuck D’Arcy, John Rittman from Stanford University and Karen Johns from the University of Virginia.
D'Arcy brings a wealth of knowledge to the USA coaching staff as a former national team player and as a coach. He served as an assistant coach for the 2006 USA Softball Women’s National Team that won their first World Cup of Softball and their sixth consecutive World Championship. D’Arcy has also served as an assistant coach with the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team that captured the silver medal at the 2003 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship in Nanjing, China.
As a pitcher, D'Arcy competed in the ASA Men's Major Fast Pitch division for almost 30 years spanning four different decades. He participated in 17 ASA National Championships and eight USOC Olympic Festivals. He was selected to play for the USA Men's National Team in the 1983 Pan-Am Games in Caracas, Venezuela and was voted team captain by his teammates.
His Hall of Fame numbers include more than 1,000 victories, more than 10,000 strikeouts, more than 60 no-hitters and more than 15 perfect games. He held an earned run average of 0.85 over his 30 year career. For his accomplishments he was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Johns also brings knowledge to the staff as a former national team player and as a coach. In 2006 she served as an assistant coach for the USA Softball Women’s National Team that won their first World Cup of Softball and their sixth consecutive World Championship. She also served as an assistant coach with the USA Softball Women’s National Team in 2005 at the World Cup of Softball and with the USA Elite Team at the Canada Cup.
As a member of the U.S. National team, she won medals at the 1990 and 1994 ISF World Championships, the 1994 South Pacific Classic and the 1995 Pan American Games. Johns led her team to gold medals at the U.S. Olympic Festival in both 1989 and 1990. She returned to the festival in 1994 and 1995, and both times her team claimed the bronze medal.
In June of 2005, Johns became the head coach at the University of Virginia after serving as the head coach at the University of Florida for five seasons where she compiled a 192-131 record for a .594 winning percentage.
Rittman has been involved as a coach with the USA Softball National Team program since 2001. Most recently he served as an assistant coach for the USA Softball Women’s National Team that won their first World Cup of Softball and their sixth consecutive World Championship. He was an assistant coach with the USA Elite Team that won the 2005 Intercontinental Cup in Madrid, Spain. He was an assistant coach for the 2004 USA Olympic Team that won a gold medal in Athens, Greece. He was also a part of the '03 team that won a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as well as a gold medal at the U.S. Cup. Rittman was also the assistant coach for the 2002 USA National Softball Team that won the 2002 US Cup, Canada Cup, Japan Cup and the World Championships. In 2001 Rittman coached the USA Red Team that won the gold medal at the US Cup and also competed in the Canada Cup and USA Softball Shootout.
He is currently in his 11th season at the helm of the Stanford women's softball program after being named head coach on July 12, 1996. During that time, Rittman has brought the Stanford softball program from a non-scholarship club-level program to a fully-funded championship contender including 10 consecutive winnings season, nine post-season appearances and two appearances in the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
USA Softball Women’s National Teams have been among the most dominating of any sports team in history. The USA’s ability to bring home the gold in World Championships, the Pan American Games and the Olympics is unchallenged, with a total of seventeen.
The USA Softball Women’s National Team won the first Olympic gold medal in the sport’s history during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA, and defended its gold medal both at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The USA Softball Women’s National Team, which is the defending World Cup Champions, has won the past six consecutive World Championships, the past five consecutive Pan Am Games and the past three Olympic gold medals.