Longtime Arizona Wildcats assistant softball coach Larry Ray, who arrived with head coach Mike Candrea before the 1986 season, has resigned, according to a news release from UA on Tuesday.
Ray spent a total of 21 seasons at Arizona, serving as interim head coach in 2004 and 2008 when Candrea was coaching the U.S. Olympic team.
Ray, 61, served as a UA assistant from 1986 to 1995 before becoming the first head coach at Florida. He returned to the Wildcats in 2002.
“I’m proud of my contributions to the University of Arizona softball program for 21 years, and all the experiences and challenges have prepared me well for my next coaching endeavor,” Ray said in a statement.
“I’d like to thank (former UA athletics directors) Cedric Dempsey and the late Mary Roby, and Coach Mike Candrea for allowing me the opportunity to be part of this wonderful program.”
Ray was not with the team for the final three weekends of the 2012 season following his arrest on domestic violence charges. His absence allowed Candrea to move former Arizona All-American Alicia Hollowell from director of operations to an on-field role as pitching coach.
“Larry Ray has given our softball program and the University of Arizona many great years of service and commitment,” Candrea said in a statement. “I am grateful for his tremendous contributions, dedication and loyalty to our softball program. I wish Larry the best in the future.”
The Candrea-Ray partnership started in 1985, when Ray, who was a high school coach in Boulder City, Nev., at the time was visiting Casa Grande, where Candrea was the head coach at Central Arizona College.
Ray called up Candrea to talk about moving up the college-coaching level. They met and had arranged for Ray to join the staff at Central … and then Candrea got the Arizona job and brought Ray along to Tucson.