Arizona Wildcats softball director of operations Alicia Hollowell has moved into a coaching role while assistant coach Larry Ray is away from the team for “personal issues,” coach Mike Candrea said Thursday night.
Regarding Ray’s absence, Candrea said following a 12-4 victory over Oregon State: “The only thing I can say is he’s just dealing with some personal issues.”
That the Wildcats took the steps to have Hollowell cleared to become one of three on-field coaches suggests Ray will be out longer than just one game.
Hollowell, a former Arizona All-American pitcher, re-joined the program this year, serving as director of operations. Hollowell, who led the Wildcats to the 2006 national championship, is the school’s career leader in victories (134) and strikeouts (1,768).
“She’s moved in as a coach at this point,” Candrea said. “We’re taking it one day at a time. That’s about it.”
Arizona is playing its final regular-season series this weekend, with a game Friday night (7 p.m.) and Saturday (noon) against Oregon State at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Ray has been with Candrea for the bulk of the head coach’s tenure with the Wildcats, which started in 1986. Ray served as an assistant from 1986 to 1995 before becoming the first head coach at Florida. He returned to UA in 2002.
Ray served as Arizona’s interim head coach in 2004 and 2008 when Candrea was coaching the U.S. Olympic team.
In other UA softball news, backup senior first baseman Baillie Kirker, who has only 19 at-bats this season, has been “suspended for breaking a team rule,” Candrea said. He did not elaborate about the potential of Kirker’s return this season.