Mike Candrea

Episode 04

25 FEB 2019

Coached Team USA to the Olympic gold medal in 2004 in Athens and the silver medal in 2008 in Beijing in women’s softball, but, ten days before the 2004 Games he lost his wife unexpectedly to a brain aneurysm. Now entering his 34th season as the head softball coach (women’s softball) at the University of Arizona, he is also the Division I wins leader in NCAA softball history and has been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame. He talks about his faith journey, including his involvement with the Knights of Columbus, his priority on getting to Mass despite softball games and tournaments being scheduled on the weekend, and more.

Guest Quotes:

“I think anytime you’re trying to strive for excellence the toughest part is to try to find that balance; balance between your family, your profession, and then for me it was my faith.”

“My faith is very important to me.  It was something that, at times I was missing because unfortunately in our game we play a lot of games on Sundays, which I’ve always kind of been confused about because what are we teaching young people?  We’re telling them how important balance is yet we’re at a softball game at 8:00 on a Sunday morning.”

“My journey of late has been to bring that story to young coaches, to try to get them to understand the pitfalls of the coaching profession and how important it is to make sure that you keep that balance in your life.”

“It has never been any bigger for me than when I lost my wife in 2004 to a brain aneurysm. And, I’m sitting there with two kids and don’t know the color of my checkbook and don’t know what they really need every day.  There was really a void there… It was definitely a life changer, to say the least, but if it wasn’t for my faith, and my faith in God, and the involvement that I had with the Knights of Columbus, and St. Thomas the Apostle Church… that’s an important part.”

“I used to think I coached kids for four years and they would leave me but I really coach them for a lifetime.  So, my commitment to them is to prepare them for life after softball.  And when you look at the game that way, I think there’s a blessing each and every day.”

“I always told young coaches I wish I could give them a national championship and make them realize that it really doesn’t change their life.  What changes your life is how you live it each and every day.”

“I always tell people it’s not a matter of whether you’re going to need God, it’s when.  And so you better prepare yourself for that each and every day.  And I tell them the story about how much happier I am when I have that balance.”

“I’m their father away from home.  And so I feel like I have an obligation to make sure that they understand that you think that hitting a curve ball on the field is tough, wait until the curve ball comes in life.”

[This episode contains a prayer by Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception (Oldenburg, IN) Athletic Director Tim Boyle, as seen in Play Like A Champion Today’s prayerbook for sports, God, Be In My Sport]

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