September 26, 2022
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Arizona Athletics Announces Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022

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TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Athletics Department has announced its Arizona Sports Hall of Fame induction class for 2022, which includes five former Wildcat student-athletes, two former head coaches and a former athletics director. The class of 2022 represents Arizona Athletics’ Wildcat Way mission at the highest levels with true academic, athletic and life champions that are national champions, Olympic medalists, Academic All-Americans, Wildcat icons and trail blazers.

Arizona Sports Hall of Fame – Class of 2022

  • Fred Batiste – Arizona Football and Track & Field student-athlete – 1949 to 1950
  • Mike Candrea – Arizona Softball head coach – 1985 to 2021
  • Cory Chitwood – Arizona Swimming & Diving student-athlete – 2008 to 2012
  • Ben Grado – Arizona Swimming & Diving student-athlete – 2008 to 2012
  • Brittany Lastrapes  – Arizona Softball student-athlete – 2008 to 2011
  • Jim Livengood – Arizona athletics director – 1994 to 2009
  • Austen Thompson – Arizona Swimming & Diving student-athlete – 2009 to 2012
  • Willie Williams – Arizona Track & Field head coach – 1969 to 1982

The official induction ceremony will be held on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 8 at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa Hotel.

BATISTE was a true Wildcat trail blazer as the first black student-athlete of any sport at Arizona when he joined the Arizona’s football and track and field programs in 1949 after serving in the military during World War II. A hurdler on the track and a standout on the football field, Batiste still holds some impressive records over 70 years after the conclusion of his career. His 87-yard punt return versus Denver during the 1949 season still stands as the third-longest return in program history. Batiste overcame racial discrimination throughout his career to pave the way for future Wildcats of color to compete.

CANDREA retired in 2021 following 36 seasons at the helm of the Arizona Softball program in which he not only elevated the program to the nation’s spotlight but helped grow the game of softball across the country and around the world. He guided Arizona to eight national championships and retired as the all-time winningest coach in the history of the game at 1,674 wins. His 1,674 wins were the fifth-most among Division I coaches of any sport at the time of his retirement. Candrea guided the Wildcats to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City an impressive 24 times in addition to winning national coach of the year honors on four separate occasions. The iconic Wildcat also coached Team USA in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, earning gold and silver medals.

CHITWOOD was a 14-time All-American during his prestigious career as a Wildcat, which included winning the NCAA championship in the backstroke in three consecutive seasons. He was a member of Arizona’s 2008 national championship team and made the Pac-12 All-Academic Team in four different seasons. During his national championship season of 2012, Chitwood recorded the fastest times in the nation in the 200-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter individual medley while tallying the second-fastest time in the NCAA in the 100-meter backstroke. He still holds top-three fastest times in program history in three different disciplines.

GRADO capped his college career with some of the most dominating diving performances in school history. The 2012 Pac-12 Diver of the Year swept the conference titles in all three dives at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships before winning the individual national championship in the platform dive. An All-American in the platform dive in 2012 and the springboard dive in 2010, Grado was also a member of Arizona’s 2008 national championship team in which he was crowned the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. He still holds the program’s all-time mark in the platform dive in a championship meet with an impressive score of 487.25.

(LASTRAPES) THACKERY was a four-time All-American outfielder for the Wildcats who led the NCAA in runs, hits and total bases during the 2009 season. Her decorated four-year career included three First Team All-Pac-10 selections and leading the conference in runs scored and hits in 2009 and 2010. She is the proud owner of numerous single season stats in the top 10 of program history that include batting average, hits, runs, and doubles in three different seasons. When she graduated, Lastrapes ranked in the top 10 in Pac-10 history in runs, doubles and hits in a career while recording top-10 career marks in program history in runs, batting average, walks and hits.

LIVENGOOD guided the athletics department from 1994 to 2009 through a period of championship excellence. The Wildcats won 11 NCAA team national championships during his tenure, which included 36 Pac-10 titles. Arizona finished in the top 10 of the Sears Directors’ Cup in 11 different years with Livengood leading the department. He also launched the “Campaign Arizona for the Student-Athlete”, which was the foundation of the creation and overhaul of numerous athletic facilities that included Eddie Lynch Athletics Pavilion, Richard Jefferson Gymnasium, Bill Estes Jr. Family Strength & Conditioning Center and Kasser Sports Medicine Center among others as well as shepherding the early plans and approvals for the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. Livengood was also instrumental in the expansion of Arizona’s pioneering C.A.T.S. programs that focus on the holistic development of student-athletes.

THOMPSON continued the long lineage of great Wildcats in the pool from 2008 to 2012. He capped his career by winning the 2012 NCAA title in the 400-meter individual medley. Thompson was a four-time All-American during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. An Academic All-American and Pac-12 All-Academic Team selection in his senior year, he still owns the second-fastest 400-meter individual medley time in program history with his NCAA title-winning time of 3:39.15 as well as sixth-fastest time in the 200-meter individual medley and sixth best time in school history in the 200-meter breaststroke.

WILLIAMS was a Wildcat trail blazer as the first black head coach in major college sports history when he was hired as Arizona’s track & field head coach in 1969. His coaching experience included Vance Johnson and Meg Ritchie winning NCAA national championships just months after his death. Throughout his tenure as head coach, Williams guided student-athletes to All-American honors on two dozen different occasions. He spent his decade and a half as head coach elevating the Arizona Track & Field program from humble roots to a program of championships and elite Wildcat student-athletes. He is the namesake of the program’s long-running home meet, the Willie Williams Classic, that began in shortly after his passing in the mid 1980’s.

 





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