Coach Lute Olson and the UA basketball team celebrates their 1997 national title win over Kentucky. The Wildcats made three other Final Four trips under Olson - in 1988, 1994 and 2001.
Athletic director Cedric Dempsey lured Lute Olson from Iowa in 1983 to rebuild Arizona basketball. Olson did much more, putting UA on the national radar before retiring. His legacy – 589 wins, 23 straight NCAA tourneys, a national title in 1997, 4 Final Fours, 11 Pac-10 titles, 33 NBA-drafted players – will be tough for new coach Sean Miller to follow.
In basketball, it’s UA’s 25 straight NCAA tourneys, but football fans won’t forget the Wildcats’ 8-0-1 mark over Arizona State from 1982-90, started by the late coach Larry Smith. “The Streak” took the sting out of UA being on probation for a slush fund by ex-coach Tony Mason, and it turned around a rivalry that saw ASU go 15-2 from 1965-81.
‘FOX’ WHO BUILT McKALE
The late Fred “The Fox” Snowden, the first African-American Division 1 basketball coach, ushered in McKale Center with the “Kiddie Corps” – Coniel Norman, Eric Money, Al Fleming, Jim Rappis and Bob Elliott. They took UA to its first NCAA tourney in 1976. Story, Page 6C
From Hi Corbett Field to Tucson Electric Park, spring training has boosted our economy and prepared three World Series champs: Cleveland (1948), Diamondbacks (2001) and White Sox (2005) and a runner-up, Colorado (2007). In 1975, the Indians’ Frank Robinson became the first African-American to manage a big-league team. But with the White Sox now in Glendale, the future is unclear.
HIGH SCHOOL DYNASTIES
In 1999, Tucson High became the nation’s first school to earn 500 victories in football and 1,000 wins each in baseball and boys basketball. Then there’s Sunnyside wrestling: 12 straight state team titles, 28 overall. Other dynasties: Amphi football, Canyon del Oro baseball/softball, Salpointe tennis and Catalina Foothills swimming/tennis.
Coach Dick Tomey unveiled his run-stopping defense in 1992, led by Tedy Bruschi, and the Wildcats went on to upset No. 1 Washington and beat Miami 29-0 in the Fiesta Bowl and earn Sports Illustrated’s preseason No. 1 ranking in 1994. The success helped recruiting, which led to a 12-1 season in 1998 and a Holiday Bowl win over Nebraska.
Ray Magnum edged Byron Nelson to win the first PGA Tour event here in 1945 at El Rio. His prize: $1,000. When Tiger Woods won the 2008 Accenture Match Play title in Marana, he took home $1.35 million! The Tucson Open rose to fame in the 1970s at Tucson National, thanks to three-time winner Johnny Miller and NBC.
RISE OF SOFTBALL
No UA team has dominated more than Mike Candrea’s softball squad: eight NCAA titles since 1991 and 21 College World Series in 22 years. From pitchers Susie Parra to Jennie Finch to Taryne Mowatt, the Wildcats have made Tucson a softball hub and energized the high school scene.
Coach Jerry Kindall guided UA to its first major NCAA team title in the 1976 College World Series. The Cats captured two more NCAA crowns in 1980 and 1986, led by Terry Francona and Chip Hale, respectively. Francona managed the Red Sox to two World Series titles, and ex-UA star Trevor Hoffman is baseball’s all-time saves leader.
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE BASEBALL
From 1915 to 1958, Tucson boasted minor league teams like the Cowboys and Lizards. But it wasn’t until 1969, when the Triple-A Toros made their PCL debut, that fans got a chance to see future major league stars at Hi Corbett. The Toros won titles in ’91 and ’93 before the Sidewinders took over in 1997 at TEP and won the 2006 title. They left for Reno after 2008, but the independent Toros are back.
E ven without a major professional sports team, Tucson can make the case for being a sports town – thanks to success at the college and high school levels and a climate that draws major events. Some highlights:
Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez meets fans Kim Filip (left) and Tracy Toland in March 2009. The Cactus League was born in 1947, with Cleveland at Hi Corbett and the New York Giants in Casa Grande. The Rockies took over for the Indians in 1993.
A decade of Tucson sports people
A decade of Tucson Sports Photos
Citizen photographers had several sports images over the past decade to show Tucson sports.
Producer: FRANCISCO MEDINA
Slide 1 of 35.
Bullrider Ian Male is sent air mail courtesy Pudd the bull during the 81st Annual Fiesta de Los Vaqueros Rodeo Sunday Feb. 19, 2006.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 2 of 35.
Coach Richard Sanchez joins his team in a prayer before the game the Blue Devils went on to lose 6-0 to the Scottsdale Saguaro Sabercats on Nov. 19, 2004.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 3 of 35.
Isaiah Fox jumps up for the rebound with Wright State's Zach Williams in the first half of the Cats' game in the second round of the NIT.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 4 of 35.
Sunnyside's Mike Smith (right) jumps over some players and evades a tackle by Sandra Day O'Conner's Chad Duncan (33).
Source: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson CitizenSlide 5 of 35.
Glendale Cactus Manny Solarez (1) dives for a pass as Rincon's Bryan Marchbanks defends in the second quarter. The pass was incomplete. Tucson, AZ.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 6 of 35.
Lionel Dotson (54) and Paul Phillip (56) celebrate after a play as Arizona was beating UCLA 31-7 st the half.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 7 of 35.
Bo Casper hangs on at the start of a bareback horse ride on Rooster Cogburn. He scored a 75 at yesterday's La Fiesta de los Vaqueros rodeo.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 8 of 35.
Arms raised in a victory salute, Robbie Ventura of Wildwood, Ill., crosses the finish line first in the 20th El Tour de Tucson in 2002.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 9 of 35.
Victorious Blue Devils from Tucson's Sunnyside High School hoist the trophy from their Class 4A state football championship of 2003.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 10 of 35.
Steam rises off the head of Mountain View's Delbert Gallego after he went to the bench and watched his teammates finish off Canyon del Oro in the final seconds of game on Oct. 29, 2004.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 11 of 35.
UA Students Ricky Garrett, 19, (blue) and Brian Blessing, 19, cheer as they are surrounded by older fans during the University of Washington game. Arizona won 91-82.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 12 of 35.
Jawaan McClellan sits on the the floor with his face covered after their 90-89 overtime loss to Illinois in Chicago at the Allstate Arena.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 13 of 35.
Tucson High School swimmer Stephanie White works out in preparation for 2004 regional state competition.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 14 of 35.
Arizona fans climb the goal post as they celebrate Arizona's win over Arizona State 34-27.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 15 of 35.
Sabino's Michael Dillon weeps as he meets with the Saguaro team after losing to them Saturday afternoon, December 9, 2006, in the Class 4A Division I state championship.
Source: VAL CANEZ/Tucson CitizenSlide 16 of 35.
Rick Wock Jr. tries to hold on to Avalanche for the full eight seconds but came up short during the bull riding event at the 80th annual Tucson Rodeo.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 17 of 35.
Hassan Adams slams the ball during a steal in the first half of their NAU game at McKale Center. UA struggled but pulled off the win 75-66 over NAU.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 18 of 35.
Arizona's Michael Thomas (10) keeps his eye on the ball as it is broken up by Washington's Roy Lewis (28) in the first quarter.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 19 of 35.
Santa Rita's Aubura Taylor (6) and his teammates came back to beat Coronado 38-37 to advance in the the 4A state play off game.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 20 of 35.
Acrobatic Wildcat catcher Jaclyn Coburn catches a foul ball and is prevented from tumbling into the dugout of opponent Lafayette by teammate Kristie Fox. The action took place during the playoffs in Tucson on May 21, 2004.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 21 of 35.
Arizona's Jennifer Klein (3) and New Mexico's Nicole Pitcock (2) fight for control.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 22 of 35.
In the return of boxing to Tucson at the Desert Diamond Casino, David Lopez lands a left hook to the face of Jerson Ravelo, knocking him out in the ninth round of a 10-round middleweight bout on March 2, 2004.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 23 of 35.
Bronco Nick Johnson (51) rallies his team during halftime in the American Youth Playoff Football game against the Redskins at Tucson High on Nov.13, 2004.
Source: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson CitizenSlide 24 of 35.
Chicago's Pablo Ozuna dives to tag out Arizona's Eric Byrnes in a run down between first and second, in a spring training game at Tucson Electric Park, Thursday, March 2, 2006.
Source: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson CitizenSlide 25 of 35.
Arizona State's Audree Johnson and the Utes' Kim Smith fight over a loose ball in the first half.Game action at McKale Center, Tucson, Arizona.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson CitizenSlide 26 of 35.
Catcher Richard McCorkle goes after the ball as Art Radke makes it safely home during a baseball game at Udall Park, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006.
Source: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson CitizenSlide 27 of 35.
Johnny Bessett (22) heads off Cholla defender Eric Nava (14), in Friday's game at Sahuarita High School.
Source: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson CitizenSlide 28 of 35.
Chaparral Firebirds Safety Adam Baily (2) goes after an interception after Sunnyside Blue Devil Wally Altamirano misses the pass in the Sept. 3, 2004, at Sunnyside High School.
Source: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson CitizenSlide 29 of 35.
Hassan Adams goes for a slam during practice in this 2003 photo-illustration.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 30 of 35.
Diamondback Jay Bell jumps into the arms of teammate Matt Williams after crossing home plate with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees and clinch the 2001 World Series.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 31 of 35.
Tiger Woods shouts after sinking a putt for eagle at No. 17 hole to put him one up and give him the lead as he went on to beat J.B. Holmes.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 32 of 35.
Hundreds of fans rush Fourth Ave after Arizona lost to Duke in the 2001 NCAA Championship.
Source: VAL CANEZ/Tucson CitizenSlide 33 of 35.
UA basketball players mob freshman guard Salim Stoudamire after he led them to the Pac-10 Conference Tournament title on Saturday March 13, 2002.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 34 of 35.
UA's Jason Gardner is fired up after making a play to force ASU to take a timeout in the first half on Jan, 23, 2003.
Source: FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson CitizenSlide 35 of 35.
This cowboy got a little muddy during the 1999 Tucson Rodeo.
Source: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson Citizen