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Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea hospitalized for ‘stress-related symptoms’

Mike Candrea has been the Arizona softball head coach since 1986, winning eight national titles. Photo by Mark Evans, TucsonCitizen.com

Arizona Wildcats softball coach Mike Candrea was being transported to Tucson’s University Medical Center on Sunday night for further observation after being hospitalized with chest pain in the Phoenix area, assistant coach Larry Ray said.

Candrea was expected to remain at UMC at least overnight.

Candrea left Arizona’s game against Arizona State in Tempe and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital Sunday afternoon.

“He was experiencing some dizziness and some chest pain,” Ray said in a phone interview at about 7:30 p.m.

“They think it was stress-related symptoms. Right now, that’s about all I know.”

Ray, who had been getting updates from Candrea’s wife, Tina, said the hospital staff performed an EKG exam on Candrea, which showed no problems.

There were two outs in the bottom of the second inning when Candrea went to Ray and said, “You need to coach third base next inning.”

Ray took Candrea’s usual spot, with assistant Stacy Iveson coaching from first base. Candrea slipped into the clubhouse and departed via ambulance to the hospital, Ray said.

Ray said he assumed Candrea was sick and would be back in a couple of innings, but he talked with the trainer after the fourth inning, and she told him that Candrea was gone.

“I didn’t even have an opportunity to explain to the team what happened during the game,” Ray said.

The Wildcats squandered a 6-0 lead, losing 7-6, as Arizona State completed a three-game sweep. ASU won 4-2 in eight innings on a walk-off homer Friday night and overcame a 3-0 deficit to win 9-6 on Saturday night.

“Knowing how much he gets into his profession, he probably didn’t eat much and was up late looking at footage,” Ray said of Candrea. “It may have just caught up to him.”

He added he hadn’t noticed any change in Candrea’s health recently, saying, “Things have been just like they have been in the past.”

Ray said he and the team wanted to see Candrea after the game, but Tina told him that “everything looked to be OK” and there wasn’t much they could do.

Arizona (19-8) has a busy week, with home games against San Diego State on Tuesday (7 p.m.) and Wednesday (3 p.m.). The Wildcats then play host to a three-game set against Stanford, Friday through Sunday.

Candrea’s availability for this week’s games was not known Sunday night.

Candrea has been Arizona’s head coach since the 1986 season, winning eight national titles. He also led Team USA to the 2004 Olympic gold medal and to silver in 2008.

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