[ {"id":"64abee47-f51d-5d8c-b0b1-67508618c4ef","type":"article","starttime":"1484870400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-19T17:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1484883907","priority":41,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Jay Johnson: New Arizona Wildcats AD will inherit baseball program that does things right","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/article_64abee47-f51d-5d8c-b0b1-67508618c4ef.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/jay-johnson-new-arizona-wildcats-ad-will-inherit-baseball-program/article_64abee47-f51d-5d8c-b0b1-67508618c4ef.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/jay-johnson-new-arizona-wildcats-ad-will-inherit-baseball-program/article_64abee47-f51d-5d8c-b0b1-67508618c4ef.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Michael Lev\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Johnson says he\u2019s \u2018very happy\u2019 for ex-boss Greg Byrne, who brought him to Tucson, yet also sad to see him go.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"72800"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"1d1d857c-3d00-5348-9cc7-0d0af31ba235","description":"Jay Johnson, right, is introduced by athletic director Greg Byrne as the UA\u2019s new baseball coach in June 2015.","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star 2015","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"463","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/d1/1d1d857c-3d00-5348-9cc7-0d0af31ba235/5881595988f33.image.jpg?resize=620%2C463"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/d1/1d1d857c-3d00-5348-9cc7-0d0af31ba235/5881595988f33.image.jpg?crop=1024%2C576%2C0%2C53&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/d1/1d1d857c-3d00-5348-9cc7-0d0af31ba235/5881595988f33.image.jpg?crop=1024%2C576%2C0%2C53&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/d1/1d1d857c-3d00-5348-9cc7-0d0af31ba235/5881595988f33.image.jpg?crop=1024%2C576%2C0%2C53&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":9,"commentID":"64abee47-f51d-5d8c-b0b1-67508618c4ef","body":"

Jay Johnson wouldn\u2019t be an Arizona Wildcat if it weren\u2019t for Greg Byrne. Byrne brought Johnson to Tucson in June 2015, launching a new era of UA baseball.

So you can understand why Johnson had mixed emotions upon learning that Byrne was leaving Arizona to become the athletic director at Alabama.

Of course Johnson was happy for his colleague.

\u201cVery happy for him,\u201d Johnson said Thursday. \u201cI do believe he is one of the best, if not the best, at his craft in the profession. What separates him is the consistency on a daily basis of who he is and how he worked, how motivated he was to help make all of us coaches here at Arizona be successful.\u201d

Johnson congratulated Byrne when they spoke earlier this week. Johnson also said: \u201cDarn it.\u201d

He knew he was losing a friend and advocate \u2014 the AD who hired him, shifted the baseball program\u2019s base of operations to Hi Corbett Field and gave him a raise after Arizona\u2019s run to the College World Series finals in June.

Johnson will miss Byrne but said neither his departure nor the identity of the next athletic director will affect the team\u2019s day-to-day approach.

\u201cI don\u2019t think about things that I cannot control,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cWhat I can guarantee the next person is, they\u2019ll have a baseball program that is extremely hard-working and very committed to doing things right. I think anybody can get on board with that.\u201d

Football to baseball?

Jack-of-all-trades football player Matt Morin is not a member of the Arizona baseball team just yet.

Morin, who played tight end, quarterback and running back as a redshirt senior in the fall, is hoping to join the baseball team as a walk-on pitcher.

The strong-armed left-hander remains in a tryout phase of sorts. Johnson and his staff still need to see him pitch in a competitive setting. There are also NCAA eligibility hurdles that must be cleared.

Johnson said he admires Morin\u2019s perseverance and would like to have him around if it works out. Morin hasn\u2019t played baseball since high school.

\u201cI like Matt a lot,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cHe came and talked to me last year, (but) last year we were not in a place to be able to fit that into what we were doing.

\u201cThe fact that he stuck with it and came back to me this year, had a plan \u2026 we\u2019re trying to give him an opportunity. We\u2019ll see over the next few weeks where that opportunity goes.\u201d

Arizona is set to begin practice next Friday.

The season opener is Feb. 17 against Eastern Kentucky.

Inside pitch

"}, {"id":"5ff82fd8-d83e-11e6-a1f8-6354e8c8892b","type":"article","starttime":"1484167980","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-11T13:53:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1484168034","priority":40,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona Wildcats hire former ASU pitching coach Brandon Higelin","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/article_5ff82fd8-d83e-11e6-a1f8-6354e8c8892b.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/arizona-wildcats-hire-former-asu-pitching-coach-brandon-higelin/article_5ff82fd8-d83e-11e6-a1f8-6354e8c8892b.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/arizona-wildcats-hire-former-asu-pitching-coach-brandon-higelin/article_5ff82fd8-d83e-11e6-a1f8-6354e8c8892b.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":3,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Michael Lev\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Higelin will serve as the UA's director of player development.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["arizona wildcats baseball","jay johnson","brandon higelin"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#toptwo","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"349","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=620%2C349"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/57128b791d145.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"5ff82fd8-d83e-11e6-a1f8-6354e8c8892b","body":"

The Arizona Wildcats have added former Arizona State pitching coach Brandon Higelin to their staff.

Higelin will serve as director of player development, replacing Jimmy VanOstrand, who recently joined the Seattle Mariners organization.

\"We are very excited to add Brandon as our director of player development,\" Arizona coach Jay Johnson said in a news release. \"We feel fortunate to find someone as capable as him to replace Jimmy at this time of year. Brandon has a lot of really good skills and successful experience that will help push our program forward.\"

Higelin spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach at ASU and served in the same capacity at Indiana in 2014. All three teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

ASU parted ways with Higelin in late December, an unusual move with the season starting in mid-February. Sun Devils coach Tracy Smith will serve as the de facto pitching coach this season.

Regarding the decision to remove Higelin, Smith said at the time:

\u201cI simply thought we could be better with our pitching-coach position and all that it entails. There is no specific negative event that led to this decision.\u201d

ASU ranked seventh in the Pac-12 with a 4.19 team ERA last season. Arizona\u2019s was more than a full run lower (3.18). The Sun Devils were ninth in the league in ERA (4.04) the previous season.

ASU\u2019s pitching staff shut down Arizona \u2013 the eventual national runner-up \u2013 in a mid-May series in Tucson. The Sun Devils allowed only seven runs in three games, winning two of them.

Indiana had a staff ERA of 2.33 in 2014, seventh best in the nation.

A former left-handed pitcher, Higelin was the San Diego Padres\u2019 28th-round draft pick in 2005. He played in the Padres\u2019 organization for four years.

Higelin is from Glendale, California, and played collegiately at Cal State Los Angeles.

"}, {"id":"3a808ba2-d52c-11e6-815b-1f1aa9329d46","type":"collection","starttime":"1483829640","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-07T15:54:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1483829964","priority":41,"sections":[{"gallery":"gallery"},{"news":"news"},{"local":"news/local"},{"photo":"photo"},{"mikechristy":"photo/mikechristy"},{"sports":"sports"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"local":"sports/local"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Photos: Shelley Duncan's Tucson youth baseball clinic","url":"http://tucson.com/gallery/collection_3a808ba2-d52c-11e6-815b-1f1aa9329d46.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/gallery/photos-shelley-duncan-s-tucson-youth-baseball-clinic/collection_3a808ba2-d52c-11e6-815b-1f1aa9329d46.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/gallery/photos-shelley-duncan-s-tucson-youth-baseball-clinic/collection_3a808ba2-d52c-11e6-815b-1f1aa9329d46.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":13,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"MLB stars J.J. Hardy and Kenny Lofton served as coaches at the free annual baseball clinic.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#topstory","#mikechristy","#gallery"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"paging_gallery","images":[{"id":"f9f25f3e-d52b-11e6-abe5-c71af20de58e","description":"Baltimore Oriole shortstop J.J. Hardy, a Sabino High School product, works on fielding technique with youngsters. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2042,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/9f/f9f25f3e-d52b-11e6-abe5-c71af20de58e/58717131814d8.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"422","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/9f/f9f25f3e-d52b-11e6-abe5-c71af20de58e/587171317edae.image.jpg?resize=620%2C422"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/9f/f9f25f3e-d52b-11e6-abe5-c71af20de58e/587171317edae.image.jpg?resize=100%2C68"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"204","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/9f/f9f25f3e-d52b-11e6-abe5-c71af20de58e/587171317edae.image.jpg?resize=300%2C204"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"697","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/9f/f9f25f3e-d52b-11e6-abe5-c71af20de58e/587171317edae.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C697"}}},{"id":"fbf40206-d52b-11e6-a341-c77d639f9338","description":"Former Arizona Wildcat and Major League Baseball journeyman Kenny Lofton, left, smiles as he awaits a throw back. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2394,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/bf/fbf40206-d52b-11e6-a341-c77d639f9338/58717134db25c.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"495","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/bf/fbf40206-d52b-11e6-a341-c77d639f9338/58717134d8770.image.jpg?resize=620%2C495"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"80","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/bf/fbf40206-d52b-11e6-a341-c77d639f9338/58717134d8770.image.jpg?resize=100%2C80"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"239","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/bf/fbf40206-d52b-11e6-a341-c77d639f9338/58717134d8770.image.jpg?resize=300%2C239"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"817","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/bf/fbf40206-d52b-11e6-a341-c77d639f9338/58717134d8770.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C817"}}},{"id":"fe447ec8-d52b-11e6-9312-b327c92f6e52","description":"Former Arizona Wildcat and Major League Baseball journeyman Kenny Lofton, background, obliges a youngster wishing to dive for a fly ball. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":1662,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/e4/fe447ec8-d52b-11e6-9312-b327c92f6e52/58717138be26e.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"343","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/e4/fe447ec8-d52b-11e6-9312-b327c92f6e52/58717138bb96f.image.jpg?resize=620%2C343"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"55","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/e4/fe447ec8-d52b-11e6-9312-b327c92f6e52/58717138bb96f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C55"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"166","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/e4/fe447ec8-d52b-11e6-9312-b327c92f6e52/58717138bb96f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C166"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"567","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/e4/fe447ec8-d52b-11e6-9312-b327c92f6e52/58717138bb96f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C567"}}},{"id":"090d6982-d52c-11e6-b918-8377c1da081c","description":"Former Arizona Wildcat and Major League Baseball journeyman Kenny Lofton high-fives a youngster. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2091,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/90/090d6982-d52c-11e6-b918-8377c1da081c/5871714ad58e2.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"432","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/90/090d6982-d52c-11e6-b918-8377c1da081c/5871714ad2d68.image.jpg?resize=620%2C432"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"70","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/90/090d6982-d52c-11e6-b918-8377c1da081c/5871714ad2d68.image.jpg?resize=100%2C70"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"209","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/90/090d6982-d52c-11e6-b918-8377c1da081c/5871714ad2d68.image.jpg?resize=300%2C209"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"713","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/90/090d6982-d52c-11e6-b918-8377c1da081c/5871714ad2d68.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C713"}}},{"id":"01781d02-d52c-11e6-a17f-e79d672dd39e","description":"Shelley Duncan, right, signs autographs for kids alongside Baltimore Oriole shortstop J.J. Hardy. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":1991,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/17/01781d02-d52c-11e6-a17f-e79d672dd39e/5871713e24b0e.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"411","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/17/01781d02-d52c-11e6-a17f-e79d672dd39e/5871713e2221c.image.jpg?resize=620%2C411"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"66","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/17/01781d02-d52c-11e6-a17f-e79d672dd39e/5871713e2221c.image.jpg?resize=100%2C66"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"199","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/17/01781d02-d52c-11e6-a17f-e79d672dd39e/5871713e2221c.image.jpg?resize=300%2C199"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"679","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/17/01781d02-d52c-11e6-a17f-e79d672dd39e/5871713e2221c.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C679"}}},{"id":"0b6955d8-d52c-11e6-822b-b34f7d8a3499","description":"Former Arizona Wildcat and Major League Baseball journeyman Kenny Lofton works on proper throwing technique. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":2932,"hiresheight":2058,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b6/0b6955d8-d52c-11e6-822b-b34f7d8a3499/5871714ecb210.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"435","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b6/0b6955d8-d52c-11e6-822b-b34f7d8a3499/5871714ec86e0.image.jpg?resize=620%2C435"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"70","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b6/0b6955d8-d52c-11e6-822b-b34f7d8a3499/5871714ec86e0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C70"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"210","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b6/0b6955d8-d52c-11e6-822b-b34f7d8a3499/5871714ec86e0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C210"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"718","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b6/0b6955d8-d52c-11e6-822b-b34f7d8a3499/5871714ec86e0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C718"}}},{"id":"0ee56ddc-d52c-11e6-85bd-639d1c715eb1","description":"Former Arizona Wildcat and Major League Baseball journeyman Kenny Lofton signals players around. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2140,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ee/0ee56ddc-d52c-11e6-85bd-639d1c715eb1/58717154a4f9a.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"442","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ee/0ee56ddc-d52c-11e6-85bd-639d1c715eb1/58717154a2b04.image.jpg?resize=620%2C442"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"71","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ee/0ee56ddc-d52c-11e6-85bd-639d1c715eb1/58717154a2b04.image.jpg?resize=100%2C71"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"214","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ee/0ee56ddc-d52c-11e6-85bd-639d1c715eb1/58717154a2b04.image.jpg?resize=300%2C214"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"730","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ee/0ee56ddc-d52c-11e6-85bd-639d1c715eb1/58717154a2b04.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C730"}}},{"id":"11f5187e-d52c-11e6-9679-5712f9d3b30b","description":"Former Sabino High School star and current Baltimore Oriole shortstop J.J. Hardy, left, catches a throw back while working on fielding grounders with kids. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2211,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/1f/11f5187e-d52c-11e6-9679-5712f9d3b30b/58717159c6a44.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"457","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/1f/11f5187e-d52c-11e6-9679-5712f9d3b30b/58717159c408b.image.jpg?resize=620%2C457"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"74","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/1f/11f5187e-d52c-11e6-9679-5712f9d3b30b/58717159c408b.image.jpg?resize=100%2C74"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"221","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/1f/11f5187e-d52c-11e6-9679-5712f9d3b30b/58717159c408b.image.jpg?resize=300%2C221"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"754","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/1f/11f5187e-d52c-11e6-9679-5712f9d3b30b/58717159c408b.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C754"}}},{"id":"151a7de6-d52c-11e6-959b-e7f39d66faf0","description":"Former Sabino High School star and current Baltimore Oriole shortstop J.J. Hardy hands back an autographed baseball. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":2780,"hiresheight":2923,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/51/151a7de6-d52c-11e6-959b-e7f39d66faf0/5871715f1681f.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"590","height":"620","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/51/151a7de6-d52c-11e6-959b-e7f39d66faf0/5871715f13b6c.image.jpg?resize=590%2C620"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"105","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/51/151a7de6-d52c-11e6-959b-e7f39d66faf0/5871715f13b6c.image.jpg?resize=100%2C105"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"315","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/51/151a7de6-d52c-11e6-959b-e7f39d66faf0/5871715f13b6c.image.jpg?resize=300%2C315"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1077","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/51/151a7de6-d52c-11e6-959b-e7f39d66faf0/5871715f13b6c.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1077"}}},{"id":"17d6af8c-d52c-11e6-a238-33816994edc5","description":"Young fans line up for autographs. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2036,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/7d/17d6af8c-d52c-11e6-a238-33816994edc5/58717163a5927.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"421","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/7d/17d6af8c-d52c-11e6-a238-33816994edc5/58717163a349a.image.jpg?resize=620%2C421"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/7d/17d6af8c-d52c-11e6-a238-33816994edc5/58717163a349a.image.jpg?resize=100%2C68"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"203","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/7d/17d6af8c-d52c-11e6-a238-33816994edc5/58717163a349a.image.jpg?resize=300%2C203"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"695","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/7d/17d6af8c-d52c-11e6-a238-33816994edc5/58717163a349a.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C695"}}},{"id":"1c0182e4-d52c-11e6-88de-5b3292019cbf","description":"Clinic organizer Shelley Duncan, a native Tucsonan and former MLB player and current coach, addresses the estimated 600 youth players. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"438","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c0/1c0182e4-d52c-11e6-88de-5b3292019cbf/5871716aa1c99.image.jpg?resize=620%2C438"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c0/1c0182e4-d52c-11e6-88de-5b3292019cbf/5871716aa1c99.image.jpg?crop=1712%2C962%2C0%2C80&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c0/1c0182e4-d52c-11e6-88de-5b3292019cbf/5871716aa1c99.image.jpg?crop=1712%2C962%2C0%2C80&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c0/1c0182e4-d52c-11e6-88de-5b3292019cbf/5871716aa1c99.image.jpg?crop=1712%2C962%2C0%2C80&resize=1024%2C575&order=crop%2Cresize"}}},{"id":"045670aa-d52c-11e6-b73b-cb7647b24ec8","description":"Former Arizona Wildcat and Major League Baseball journeyman Kenny Lofton works on proper outfield fielding technique with a youth. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1822,"hiresheight":2363,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/45/045670aa-d52c-11e6-b73b-cb7647b24ec8/58717142ea5a3.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"478","height":"620","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/45/045670aa-d52c-11e6-b73b-cb7647b24ec8/58717142e842b.image.jpg?resize=478%2C620"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"130","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/45/045670aa-d52c-11e6-b73b-cb7647b24ec8/58717142e842b.image.jpg?resize=100%2C130"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"389","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/45/045670aa-d52c-11e6-b73b-cb7647b24ec8/58717142e842b.image.jpg?resize=300%2C389"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1328","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/45/045670aa-d52c-11e6-b73b-cb7647b24ec8/58717142e842b.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1328"}}},{"id":"0698e12c-d52c-11e6-b26b-a300d2b4abbc","description":"Former Arizona Wildcat and Major League Baseball journeyman Kenny Lofton, left, lobs a fly ball for a kid wanting to make a diving catch. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":1961,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/69/0698e12c-d52c-11e6-b26b-a300d2b4abbc/58717146b8e7f.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"405","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/69/0698e12c-d52c-11e6-b26b-a300d2b4abbc/58717146b6076.image.jpg?resize=620%2C405"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"65","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/69/0698e12c-d52c-11e6-b26b-a300d2b4abbc/58717146b6076.image.jpg?resize=100%2C65"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"196","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/69/0698e12c-d52c-11e6-b26b-a300d2b4abbc/58717146b6076.image.jpg?resize=300%2C196"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"669","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/69/0698e12c-d52c-11e6-b26b-a300d2b4abbc/58717146b6076.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C669"}}}],"revision":2}, {"id":"048a7038-d204-11e6-b267-a3da1ddbdf49","type":"link","starttime":"1483482540","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-03T15:29:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1483483205","priority":41,"sections":[{"arizonawildcats":"sports/arizonawildcats"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"},{"football":"sports/arizonawildcats/football"},{"local":"sports/local"},{"roadrunners":"sports/roadrunners"}],"application":"editorial","title":"6 reasons that 2016 was a year to forget in Tucson sports","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/reasons-that-was-a-year-to-forget-in-tucson-sports/collection_65846b62-d201-11e6-b73d-7b5729e5e24e.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/reasons-that-was-a-year-to-forget-in-tucson-sports/collection_65846b62-d201-11e6-b73d-7b5729e5e24e.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Here are the six worst sports moments in Tucson in 2016.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick","#topread"],"customProperties":{"label":"2016"},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"c6884942-4304-11e6-8788-ab79c96c814a","description":"Arizona head coach Jay Johnson sits with Cody Ramer (13) in the moments after the Wildcats fell to Coastal Carolina 4-3 in the College World Series championship game at TD Ameritrade Park, Thursday, June 30, 2016, Omaha, Neb. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":4513,"hiresheight":2960,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/68/c6884942-4304-11e6-8788-ab79c96c814a/577c3ce721991.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"407","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/68/c6884942-4304-11e6-8788-ab79c96c814a/577c3ce71e82b.image.jpg?resize=620%2C407"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/68/c6884942-4304-11e6-8788-ab79c96c814a/577c3ce71e82b.image.jpg?crop=1778%2C1000%2C0%2C0&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/68/c6884942-4304-11e6-8788-ab79c96c814a/577c3ce71e82b.image.jpg?crop=1778%2C1000%2C0%2C0&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/68/c6884942-4304-11e6-8788-ab79c96c814a/577c3ce71e82b.image.jpg?crop=1778%2C1000%2C0%2C0&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":2,"url":"http://tucson.com/sports/reasons-that-was-a-year-to-forget-in-tucson-sports/collection_65846b62-d201-11e6-b73d-7b5729e5e24e.html"}, {"id":"9294ddd8-d1ef-11e6-b1b0-5b8246a6bb46","type":"link","starttime":"1483480800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-03T15:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1483482133","priority":42,"sections":[{"arizonawildcats":"sports/arizonawildcats"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"},{"football":"sports/arizonawildcats/football"},{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"},{"highschool":"sports/highschool"},{"local":"sports/local"}],"application":"editorial","title":"The 6 greatest Tucson sports performances of 2016","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/the-greatest-tucson-sports-performances-of/collection_292f4048-d1ec-11e6-bf2a-b75386c1608a.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/the-greatest-tucson-sports-performances-of/collection_292f4048-d1ec-11e6-bf2a-b75386c1608a.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Here's a look back at the six best single performances of 2016 from Southern Arizona athletes.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#topstory","#top5sports","#editorspick","#topread"],"customProperties":{"label":"YEAR IN REVIEW"},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"3ad36b2a-ed55-11e5-8daa-dbf47aa2be4c","description":"Arizona Wildcats guard Gabe York (1) pulls a page from former teammate T.J. McConnell's playbook and visits the block \"A\" at midcourt before subbing out during the second half of the No. 18 University of Arizona Wildcats vs. Stanford University Cardinal men's college basketball game at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, March 5, 2016. Arizona won 94-62. Photo by Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1711,"hiresheight":1222,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ad/3ad36b2a-ed55-11e5-8daa-dbf47aa2be4c/56ec7b29ee069.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"443","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ad/3ad36b2a-ed55-11e5-8daa-dbf47aa2be4c/56ec7b29ec340.image.jpg?resize=620%2C443"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ad/3ad36b2a-ed55-11e5-8daa-dbf47aa2be4c/56ec7b29ec340.image.jpg?crop=1703%2C957%2C0%2C189&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ad/3ad36b2a-ed55-11e5-8daa-dbf47aa2be4c/56ec7b29ec340.image.jpg?crop=1703%2C957%2C0%2C189&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/ad/3ad36b2a-ed55-11e5-8daa-dbf47aa2be4c/56ec7b29ec340.image.jpg?crop=1703%2C957%2C0%2C189&resize=1024%2C575&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":3,"url":"http://tucson.com/sports/the-greatest-tucson-sports-performances-of/collection_292f4048-d1ec-11e6-bf2a-b75386c1608a.html"}, {"id":"c9548dca-f11f-5609-af63-bbf0bc14f8d5","type":"article","starttime":"1482883200","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-27T17:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1484796080","priority":44,"sections":[{"local":"sports/local"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"football":"sports/arizonawildcats/football"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Tragedy, near misses made 2016 a year to forget for Tucson sports teams","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/local/article_c9548dca-f11f-5609-af63-bbf0bc14f8d5.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/local/tragedy-near-misses-made-a-year-to-forget-for-tucson/article_c9548dca-f11f-5609-af63-bbf0bc14f8d5.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/local/tragedy-near-misses-made-a-year-to-forget-for-tucson/article_c9548dca-f11f-5609-af63-bbf0bc14f8d5.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":6,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Here are six reasons to forget 2016.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick","#top5sports","#topstory"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"71803"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"47d9ed16-83a8-56d8-809d-da54b41b5226","description":"The UA honored Zach Hemmila against BYU. Hemmila died during training camp from a toxic mix of prescription drugs.","byline":"Photos by Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1853,"hiresheight":1119,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/7d/47d9ed16-83a8-56d8-809d-da54b41b5226/583536841f4b8.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"374","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/7d/47d9ed16-83a8-56d8-809d-da54b41b5226/583536841e4cd.image.jpg?resize=620%2C374"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"60","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/7d/47d9ed16-83a8-56d8-809d-da54b41b5226/583536841e4cd.image.jpg?resize=100%2C60"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"181","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/7d/47d9ed16-83a8-56d8-809d-da54b41b5226/583536841e4cd.image.jpg?resize=300%2C181"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"618","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/7d/47d9ed16-83a8-56d8-809d-da54b41b5226/583536841e4cd.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C618"}}},{"id":"26075d46-80e1-579a-8ac9-c98aef850eff","description":"Dr. Rez Mohaved, of Carondelet St. Mary\u2019s Hospital, helped save Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham.","byline":"Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1187,"hiresheight":1746,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/60/26075d46-80e1-579a-8ac9-c98aef850eff/5862cc48cceb5.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"422","height":"620","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/60/26075d46-80e1-579a-8ac9-c98aef850eff/585acaf5c1210.image.jpg?resize=422%2C620"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/60/26075d46-80e1-579a-8ac9-c98aef850eff/585acaf5c1210.image.jpg?crop=1187%2C667%2C0%2C77&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/60/26075d46-80e1-579a-8ac9-c98aef850eff/585acaf5c1210.image.jpg?crop=1187%2C667%2C0%2C77&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/60/26075d46-80e1-579a-8ac9-c98aef850eff/585acaf5c1210.image.jpg?crop=1187%2C667%2C0%2C77&resize=1024%2C575&order=crop%2Cresize"}}},{"id":"0b887af8-33a7-5ce5-9c01-158fd84c134d","description":"Arizona head coach Sean Miller talks with Arizona guard Kadeem Allen (5) during a break in the action in the second half against Wichita State in their opening round game at the NCAA Regional, Dunkin\u2019 Donuts Center, Wednesday, March 17, 2016, Providence, R.I. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1115,"hiresheight":1858,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b8/0b887af8-33a7-5ce5-9c01-158fd84c134d/585f80472d185.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"372","height":"620","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b8/0b887af8-33a7-5ce5-9c01-158fd84c134d/585f80472b734.image.jpg?resize=372%2C620"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"167","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b8/0b887af8-33a7-5ce5-9c01-158fd84c134d/585f80472b734.image.jpg?resize=100%2C167"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"500","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b8/0b887af8-33a7-5ce5-9c01-158fd84c134d/585f80472b734.image.jpg?resize=300%2C500"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1706","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/b8/0b887af8-33a7-5ce5-9c01-158fd84c134d/585f80472b734.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1706"}}},{"id":"d96f35bc-097c-5276-b28e-d7bbf1e0a389","description":"Cody Ramer, left, with coach Jay Johnson, can\u2019t bear to watch the last at-bat, with two on base and two out, as Arizona tries to come from behind in the College World Series.","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1129,"hiresheight":740,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/96/d96f35bc-097c-5276-b28e-d7bbf1e0a389/57759c46ec241.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"406","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/96/d96f35bc-097c-5276-b28e-d7bbf1e0a389/57759c46ea5c3.image.jpg?resize=620%2C406"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"65","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/96/d96f35bc-097c-5276-b28e-d7bbf1e0a389/57759c471b738.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"197","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/96/d96f35bc-097c-5276-b28e-d7bbf1e0a389/57759c46ea5c3.image.jpg?resize=300%2C197"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"671","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/96/d96f35bc-097c-5276-b28e-d7bbf1e0a389/57759c46ea5c3.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C671"}}},{"id":"9cb2b89d-a8cc-58b1-bd6d-734c902bb1a1","description":"Allonzo Trier, left, and Kadeem Allen enjoy a light moment on the bench during Arizona's win over Texas Southern on Nov. 30.","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1267,"hiresheight":1635,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/cb/9cb2b89d-a8cc-58b1-bd6d-734c902bb1a1/5845f9e6e3d9a.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"480","height":"620","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/cb/9cb2b89d-a8cc-58b1-bd6d-734c902bb1a1/5845f9e6e2201.image.jpg?resize=480%2C620"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/cb/9cb2b89d-a8cc-58b1-bd6d-734c902bb1a1/5845f9e6e2201.image.jpg?crop=1267%2C712%2C0%2C67&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/cb/9cb2b89d-a8cc-58b1-bd6d-734c902bb1a1/5845f9e6e2201.image.jpg?crop=1267%2C712%2C0%2C67&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/cb/9cb2b89d-a8cc-58b1-bd6d-734c902bb1a1/5845f9e6e2201.image.jpg?crop=1267%2C712%2C0%2C67&resize=1024%2C575&order=crop%2Cresize"}}},{"id":"8c80d12c-cde7-58c0-88ed-e4d791532f49","description":"Little if anything went right for the Arizona football team this year, with coach Rich Rodriguez leading his team to a 3-9 record, worst in his tenure at the university.","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1650,"hiresheight":1255,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/c8/8c80d12c-cde7-58c0-88ed-e4d791532f49/5833b9e383e95.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"472","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/c8/8c80d12c-cde7-58c0-88ed-e4d791532f49/5833b9e382f93.image.jpg?resize=620%2C472"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/c8/8c80d12c-cde7-58c0-88ed-e4d791532f49/5833b9e382f93.image.jpg?crop=1650%2C928%2C0%2C42&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/c8/8c80d12c-cde7-58c0-88ed-e4d791532f49/5833b9e382f93.image.jpg?crop=1650%2C928%2C0%2C42&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/c8/8c80d12c-cde7-58c0-88ed-e4d791532f49/5833b9e382f93.image.jpg?crop=1650%2C928%2C0%2C42&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":22,"commentID":"c9548dca-f11f-5609-af63-bbf0bc14f8d5","body":"

Every sports season is going to have its fair share of disappointments.

But it sure seemed like 2016 was chock full of tragedy for Tucson sports fans.

There were harrowing losses \u2014 the passing of Arizona center Zach Hemmila still haunts the Wildcats \u2014 and near-misses, like Tucson Roadrunners winger Craig Cunningham\u2019s brush with death on the ice. There were also losses on a much smaller scale, albeit devastating to the town\u2019s favorite teams, like Arizona\u2019s surprise loss to Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Ultimately, the entire year begged one question.

Is it over yet?

Here are the six worst sports moments in Tucson in 2016:

Arizona loses one
of its own

Arizona\u2019s football program was dealt a difficult blow just before the season.

Zach Hemmila was expected to take over as Arizona\u2019s starting center, but the senior from Chandler died in his sleep amidst fall practices.

The Wildcats honored Hemmila, naming him an honorary captain for the season-opening game against BYU at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale and presenting his family with a plaque before the home opener against Grambling State. Players wore a sticker on their helmets with Hemmila\u2019s \u201cZH\u201d initials, and coaches did the same on their hats.

It made for a somber Senior Day. Arizona\u2019s senior class ran out without Hemmila, a member of Rich Rodriguez\u2019s first recruiting class, and openly stated they would play the game in his honor. The Wildcats went on to defeat Arizona State.

\u2014 Zack Rosenblatt

Cunningham suffers cardiac arrest on ice

It was going to be just any other game, until, shockingly, it wasn\u2019t.

On Nov. 19, just as the opening faceoff was about to get underway, Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham collapsed to the ice.

Teammates looked on in horror, fans were stunned into silence, referees skated over and frantically beckoned medical attention. Trainers, EMTs, even a group of firefighters who happened to be on the ice to perform the national anthem, rushed to his aid.

Recently, Cunningham\u2019s doctors detailed the frightening situation: He\u2019d suffered a cardiac arrest on the ice and required more than 85 minutes of nonstop CPR.

The 26-year-old former Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes forward held his first press conference since the incident on Dec. 21, announcing his imminent release from Banner-University Medical Center.

\u2014 Jon Gold

Miller, Cats sweat it out
in NCAA Tournament loss

To the vast majority of college basketball viewers, the lasting image of the Arizona Wildcats\u2019 brief 2016 NCAA Tournament appearance is probably this: Their coach yelling and gesturing frantically, jacket off and white dress shirt fully soaked in sweat.

Three weeks after Wichita State upended the Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, UA coach Sean Miller said it was probably a good thing if that\u2019s what stuck in everyone\u2019s mind.

The game itself was not the sort of thing the Wildcats want to be remembered for.

In their first-ever first-round NCAA Tournament loss under Miller, the Wildcats were chewed up by the Shockers\u2019 tenacious man-to-man defense, which extended out and occasionally pressed.

Miller called a timeout 53 seconds into the game to avoid one potential turnover, but the UA missed 11 straight shots early in the game and things never improved. The Wildcats had 19 turnovers, seven of them by point guard Kadeem Allen.

The loss put a quick end to the college careers of four seniors: Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York, Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefsen. Tarczewski and York were four-year Wildcats, while Anderson and Tollefsen both transferred to Arizona for a chance in part to play in the tournament.

\u201cI love all these guys,\u201d Anderson said, tearing up in the locker room afterward. \u201cI love all the coaches. I love everyone involved in this program. It\u2019s just tough when it\u2019s over.\u201d

Miller said he would miss the seniors\u2019 leadership, resolve and character, and a few weeks later he expressed \u201cgreat regret\u201d over one other thing: That dress shirt.

\u201cIt seemed like something happened to me, like I was sick or I was a raving lunatic on the sideline, that I sweated at a level that\u2019s never been seen before,\u201d Miller said. \u201cBut the truth be told, I tried a new shirt that was positioned to me as being more breathable ... which means less material.

\u201cClearly I made an error not having an undershirt, and no question I had a bad night, coupled with the fact that we lost.\u201d

\u2014 Bruce Pascoe

Wildcats come this close

Make no bones about it \u2014 Arizona made a remarkable run to the College World Series final, and there really is no way to view the Wildcats season other than in a positive light.

That doesn\u2019t make the ending sting any less.

The Wildcats, a team picked to finish ninth in the Pac-12 in the preseason, trailed Coastal Carolina by one run in the final inning of the college baseball season.

Ryan Haug, Arizona\u2019s catcher, was at the plate, two outs, with two runners in scoring position. A hit would win College World Series, an out would lose it.

Haug struck out swinging. Coastal Carolina stormed the field in celebration as Arizona watched, in agony.

\u201cI wanted that so badly for them,\u201d UA coach Jay Johnson said at the time. \u201cIt\u2019s not going away for a while. We\u2019ll regroup, because we have each other. (But) this is going to stick, and it\u2019s nothing personally.\u201d

Key Wildcats kept
from competition

Elliott Pitts wore khakis. Allonzo Trier prefers the sweatsuit look.

The UA basketball players\u2019 inability to suit up over long periods of time without an explanation has combined to create a continuing opaque cloud over the Arizona basketball program, adding to an understaffed roster that lost Ray Smith when he tore an ACL for the third time in the preseason.

Pitts, a key reserve last season, played in eight games before sitting out for 18 games for what Miller would only call a \u201cpersonal issue,\u201d and then he disappeared from the team completely in mid-February.

While Pitts was never charged by police, the Star later found that he was suspended from the school over a finding of sexual misconduct. Pitts is now attending a junior college near his Northern California home.

This season, it was Trier\u2019s turn to sit on the bench. Miller said in mid-October that he would not address \u201crumors\u201d about Trier\u2019s eligibility status and his stance hasn\u2019t changed even as Trier has now sat out 13 games because of an unexplained suspension.

The NCAA also declined to comment on Trier, though there have been some clues about his situation: Miller said in early December that the NCAA had cleared Trier to travel with the Wildcats when he was not allowed to in November, and Miller said that the academic calendar is not related to Trier\u2019s issue. That could suggest that the case is fully back in the NCAA\u2019s hands and that academics are not an issue.

Since the NCAA usually announces suspensions related to improper benefits, Trier\u2019s case appears to be of another sort and the length of his unexplained absence suggests it is highly unusual or precedent-setting in nature.

Trier\u2019s absence has left the Wildcats with just seven active scholarship players for much of the season, considering Parker Jackson-Cartwright\u2019s high ankle sprain, Talbott Denny\u2019s torn ACL and Smith\u2019s heartbreaking retirement.

Smith, sidelined with ACL tears first before his senior year of high school and second during the 2015-16 preseason, went up for a layup in his first college exhibition game Nov. 1 and suffered another tear.

He fell to the floor and swiped his hand across his neck, perhaps signaling the end. Two days later, he announced his retirement from the game on Twitter.

\u201cIn the 25 years I have been a college basketball coach, I have never felt as helpless as I did when I saw him go down on Tuesday night,\u201d Miller said.

\u201cNo 19-year-old kid should have to experience three season-ending injuries in a 30-month period of time. I have watched Ray work with our strength and conditioning coach tirelessly for two years. I have seen him in our training room around the clock, doing everything he can to play the game he loves. To witness his extraordinary efforts and see this happen to him once again is beyond disheartening.\u201d

\u2014 Bruce Pascoe

Wildcats, RichRod
bottom out

Two years ago, Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats football program were on cloud nine after a shocking run to the Pac-12 South title and 10 wins.

Everything went right that season.

Everything went wrong in this one.

It started with the passing of Hemmila and continued as the Wildcats were decimated by injuries at quarterback, running back and linebacker.

At one point against USC, the Wildcats were playing their third-string tight end at quarterback (Matt Morin) and a converted receiver (Tyrell Johnson) at running back. Samajie Grant eventually established himself as the Wildcats\u2019 best, healthiest option at running back after spending his first three years at wide receiver.

The Wildcats lost all but one conference game, and the loss to Washington State (69-7) was one of the worst in school history.

Arizona finished 3-9, saving a near unforgivable collapse with a win against Arizona State. The troubles extended into the offseason, too, as cornerbacks coach and top recruiter Dont\u00e9 Williams bolted for Nebraska and quarterback Anu Solomon announced plans to transfer.

\u2013 Zack Rosenblatt

"}, {"id":"85e22328-28d8-5e01-840c-0aa36d73d8d1","type":"article","starttime":"1482870600","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-27T13:30:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1484167776","priority":42,"sections":[{"greghansen":"sports/greghansen"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Jay Johnson navigated Arizona Wildcats through crazy (and) good season","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/greghansen/article_85e22328-28d8-5e01-840c-0aa36d73d8d1.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/greghansen/jay-johnson-navigated-arizona-wildcats-through-crazy-and-good-season/article_85e22328-28d8-5e01-840c-0aa36d73d8d1.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/greghansen/jay-johnson-navigated-arizona-wildcats-through-crazy-and-good-season/article_85e22328-28d8-5e01-840c-0aa36d73d8d1.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":3,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Greg Hansen Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"The UA's College World Series finalist baseball coach is the Star's top sports figure of 2016.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#top5sports","#editorspick","#hansen","#column","#topread"],"customProperties":{"label":"HANSEN"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"f6ccab0e-5f56-5ab6-ac47-387e3ec5b21f","description":"Baseball coach Jay Johnson led the Wildcats to the College World Series in his first year at the UA. \u201cI knew Jay would get that job as soon as Arizona contacted him; I knew he would knock them out,\u201d says pitching coach Dave Lawn, who came to Arizona with Johnson.","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2110,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/6c/f6ccab0e-5f56-5ab6-ac47-387e3ec5b21f/585c68216ba87.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"436","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/6c/f6ccab0e-5f56-5ab6-ac47-387e3ec5b21f/585c682117abe.image.jpg?resize=620%2C436"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/6c/f6ccab0e-5f56-5ab6-ac47-387e3ec5b21f/585c682117abe.image.jpg?crop=1717%2C965%2C0%2C82&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/6c/f6ccab0e-5f56-5ab6-ac47-387e3ec5b21f/585c682117abe.image.jpg?crop=1717%2C965%2C0%2C82&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/6c/f6ccab0e-5f56-5ab6-ac47-387e3ec5b21f/585c682117abe.image.jpg?crop=1717%2C965%2C0%2C82&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}},{"id":"94fe4da0-1378-549d-a557-9a80fab49f94","description":"Jay Johnson, 39, is about 5-foot-7. \u201cPeople have told me I\u2019m too small,\u201d he says. \u201cI don\u2019t think so.\u201d He wears No. 2 to reflect his self-image as someone who overcomes the odds.","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2137,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/4f/94fe4da0-1378-549d-a557-9a80fab49f94/585c6821dd9ba.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"442","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/4f/94fe4da0-1378-549d-a557-9a80fab49f94/585c68218612c.image.jpg?resize=620%2C442"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"71","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/4f/94fe4da0-1378-549d-a557-9a80fab49f94/585c68218612c.image.jpg?resize=100%2C71"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"214","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/4f/94fe4da0-1378-549d-a557-9a80fab49f94/585c68218612c.image.jpg?resize=300%2C214"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"729","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/4f/94fe4da0-1378-549d-a557-9a80fab49f94/585c68218612c.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C729"}}},{"id":"c1f82403-8635-5745-bf48-1d20a978afd1","description":"Johnson, at the College World Series, says his favorite place to be is \u201cin the middle of a one-run game in the seventh inning.\u201d","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1975,"hiresheight":1049,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1f/c1f82403-8635-5745-bf48-1d20a978afd1/585c68220d813.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"329","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1f/c1f82403-8635-5745-bf48-1d20a978afd1/585c68220cad2.image.jpg?resize=620%2C329"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"53","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1f/c1f82403-8635-5745-bf48-1d20a978afd1/585c68220cad2.image.jpg?resize=100%2C53"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"159","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1f/c1f82403-8635-5745-bf48-1d20a978afd1/585c68220cad2.image.jpg?resize=300%2C159"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"544","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1f/c1f82403-8635-5745-bf48-1d20a978afd1/585c68220cad2.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C544"}}}],"revision":15,"commentID":"85e22328-28d8-5e01-840c-0aa36d73d8d1","body":"

Greg Byrne reserved a small Courtyard Marriott conference room at San Diego\u2019s hotel circle and introduced himself to Nevada Wolf Pack baseball coach Jay Johnson.

The two had spoken twice on the phone in June 2015, but on this day they did much more than talk. They listened. Byrne, accompanied by Arizona associate athletic director Mike Ketcham, met with Johnson for almost four hours.

What\u2019s the famous movie line? You had me at hello?

About 15 minutes into the job interview, Byrne and Ketcham caught each other\u2019s eye and nodded all but imperceptibly .

This is our guy.

Once Byrne and Ketcham left Johnson at the Courtyard Marriott, their mission to replace retired UA baseball coach Andy Lopez was not complete. At least one more interview was scheduled, but it was like garbage time in a one-sided basketball game.

\u201cI knew Jay would get that job as soon as Arizona contacted him; I knew he would knock them out,\u201d remembers Dave Lawn, then the pitching coach at Nevada and now Johnson\u2019s pitching coach at Arizona. \u201cHe understands APR and RPI. He\u2019s articulate. He can spread 11.7 scholarships to 27 players in his head. He\u2019s got a plan and he\u2019s able to articulate it.\u201d

Eleven months later, Johnson and Lawn gathered the UA baseball team near the outfield wall at Oregon\u2019s PK Park. With a tense 5-4 victory, the Wildcats assured themselves an unexpected berth in the NCAA Tournament. They finished a modest 16-14 in the wickedly difficult Pac-12, but they were nobody\u2019s idea of a team that was about to make the Road to Omaha the ride of a lifetime.

Nobody except Johnson.

\u201cHe turned to me that afternoon at Oregon and said, \u2018We\u2019re about to go off,\u2019\u201d Lawn says now. \u201cEverybody else thought we were laying in the weeds, but that\u2019s not what Jay thought.\u201d

Over the next five weeks, Arizona would go 16-3. The Cats would go 2-0 in Tucson, 4-0 in Hawaii, 3-1 in Louisiana, 2-0 in Mississippi and 5-2 in Nebraska. The Wildcats would survive two elimination games, 48 hours of rain delays, and on June 30 found themselves playing Coastal Carolina in a winner-take-all, national championship game.

The Chanticleers won in a heart-thumping finish, 4-3.

\u201cI\u2019m at peace with it,\u201d Johnson said a few days before Christmas. \u201cBut I think about it every day.\u201d

In his first season at Arizona, which included drawing a record 18,039 fans for a three-game series against Arizona State, Johnson coached a club Pac-12 coaches predicted to finish ninth to a 49-23 record and, Johnson says, with emphasis, \u201cto the last game of the year.\u201d

As such, Johnson is the Star\u2019s choice as Tucson\u2019s 2016 Sports Figure of the Year.

Arizona\u2019s 2016 baseball season was a story of crazy and good.

In a baseball sense, it was crazy to expect the Wildcats to do much more than match the previous two non-playoff seasons, in which they went 21-39 in the Pac-12. Lopez, recovering from major heart surgery, tried without much success to restore a roster that had been depleted after winning the 2012 College World Series.

Good? Second baseman Zach Gibbons hit .385 and led the NCAA in hits. Previous journeyman starter Nathan Bannister went 12-2. Third baseman/pitcher Bobby Dalbec survived a yearlong hitting slump to win 11 games, many of them when the Wildcats were desperate for a win. And right-fielder Cody Ramer, who Johnson insists was the best player in the Pac-12, hit .348.

\u201cWhen I was preparing for my interview with Greg Byrne, I studied the roster and tried to evaluate why Arizona was coming off a disappointing season,\u201d says Johnson. \u201cI didn\u2019t take it at face value; the more research I did, the more I thought there were some guys that could play better than they had at any point in their careers.

\u201cAnd that\u2019s absolutely what happened.\u201d

Lawn, who turned down an offer to replace Johnson as Nevada\u2019s head coach, chose to move to Tucson because Johnson saw few barriers. Indeed, Johnson speaks without prompting about \u201cArizona\u2019s baseball lineage\u201d and that he is eager to do his part to carry on the tradition.

\u201cA lot of coaches go to a new place and say, \u2018When we get our guys here, we\u2019ll start to win,\u2019\u201d says Lawn. \u201cBut that\u2019s not Jay. He said, \u2018Screw that; these are our guys. We\u2019ll win now.\u2019\u201d

Only once did the Wildcats of \u201916 appear to go off the rail. They were swept in an agonizing series at Utah in early April, blowing the lead in the eighth or ninth inning three days in succession. They fell to 3-6 in the Pac-12.

Two days later, using Dalbec as a starter in a rare Tuesday appearance, the Wildcats beat No. 22 BYU, and it was as though the Utah series was forgotten.

\u201cJay\u2019s never in the tank,\u201d says Lawn. \u201cThere\u2019s never a hangover from the previous day. Losing those three at Utah might\u2019ve put any team away for the rest of the year. Instead, it was our turning point.\u201d

Johnson, who is 39, grew up in small-town Oroville (pop: 15,000) in Northern California. His father, Jerry, has been a career high school coach. His mother. Beverly, is a human-resources director at an Oroville complex. \u201cMy mom\u2019s a grinder,\u201d he says. \u201cMy dad\u2019s a grinder.\u201d

The son learned well.

An undersized tailback, point guard and second baseman at Oroville High School who gained 1,198 yards as a senior, Johnson wears jersey No. 2 at Arizona. He believes No. 2 reflects a battler, someone of a smaller stature (Johnson is probably 5-foot-7) overcoming the odds.

\u201cPeople have told me I\u2019m too small,\u201d he says with a smile. \u201cI don\u2019t think so.\u201d

He studies football coaches as much as those in a baseball dugout. He has read Alabama coach Nick Saban\u2019s book. He is intrigued by the success of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. In the next life, Johnson says he\u2019ll coach football, not baseball, because he is drawn to the constant battle of Xs vs. Os.

\u201cBeing in the middle of a one-run game in the seventh inning is my favorite place to be,\u201d he says.

Favorite movie? \u201cRemember the Titans.\u201d

Favorite baseball player? Charlie Hustle, Pete Rose.

What can Johnson do for an encore in Year 2 at Arizona? He won\u2019t be playing much golf.

\u201cOn the rare occasions Jay plays golf, he starts looking at his phone at the ninth hole,\u201d says Lawn.

\u201cBy No. 11, he\u2019s on the phone. By No. 12, he\u2019s in the clubhouse, working on next year.\u201d

"}, {"id":"72d9f1ba-ca13-11e6-88b5-27e4ca28b4bc","type":"link","starttime":"1482868800","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-27T13:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1482901991","sections":[{"arizonawildcats":"sports/arizonawildcats"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"football":"sports/arizonawildcats/football"},{"highschool":"sports/highschool"},{"local":"sports/local"},{"roadrunners":"sports/roadrunners"}],"application":"editorial","title":"The 6 greatest Tucson sports moments of 2016","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/the-greatest-tucson-sports-moments-of/collection_165adf64-ca11-11e6-b285-8f8ae547addc.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/the-greatest-tucson-sports-moments-of/collection_165adf64-ca11-11e6-b285-8f8ae547addc.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Here\u2019s a look back at a half-dozen sports moments in Tucson that helped define 2016.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#topstory","#top5sports","#editorspick","#topread"],"customProperties":{"label":"YEAR IN REVIEW"},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"290541a6-4305-11e6-a2da-1ff233f212bc","description":"Arizona outfielders Justin Behnke, left, Zach Gibbons (23) and Jared Oliva come together to celebrate the game's final out after dropping UC Santa Barbara 3-0 in their elimination game at the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, Omaha, Neb. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3851,"hiresheight":2731,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/90/290541a6-4305-11e6-a2da-1ff233f212bc/577c3d8c59f8c.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"439","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/90/290541a6-4305-11e6-a2da-1ff233f212bc/577c3d8c57744.image.jpg?resize=620%2C439"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/90/290541a6-4305-11e6-a2da-1ff233f212bc/577c3d8c57744.image.jpg?crop=1709%2C961%2C0%2C1&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/90/290541a6-4305-11e6-a2da-1ff233f212bc/577c3d8c57744.image.jpg?crop=1709%2C961%2C0%2C1&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/90/290541a6-4305-11e6-a2da-1ff233f212bc/577c3d8c57744.image.jpg?crop=1709%2C961%2C0%2C1&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":5,"url":"http://tucson.com/sports/the-greatest-tucson-sports-moments-of/collection_165adf64-ca11-11e6-b285-8f8ae547addc.html"}, {"id":"cbd1cdb0-ca0e-11e6-abaa-6b86f5dbe1ef","type":"link","starttime":"1482784200","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-26T13:30:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1482793449","priority":41,"sections":[{"greghansen":"sports/greghansen"},{"arizonawildcats":"sports/arizonawildcats"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"},{"football":"sports/arizonawildcats/football"},{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"},{"highschool":"sports/highschool"},{"local":"sports/local"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Greg Hansen's Top 100 Sports Figures of 2016","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/greg-hansen-s-top-sports-figures-of/collection_02628226-c167-11e6-94bb-a72bd55ac7d4.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/greg-hansen-s-top-sports-figures-of/collection_02628226-c167-11e6-94bb-a72bd55ac7d4.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"The Star columnist counts down the year's best Southern Arizona sports figures.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#topstory","#editorspick","#topread","#top5sports","#sportshighlight"],"customProperties":{"label":"HANSEN"},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"2afe2b4a-c4a5-11e6-8eb2-0fc2436bc49e","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":1920,"hiresheight":1080,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/af/2afe2b4a-c4a5-11e6-8eb2-0fc2436bc49e/5855b745a81f2.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"349","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/af/2afe2b4a-c4a5-11e6-8eb2-0fc2436bc49e/5855b745a6a9f.image.jpg?resize=620%2C349"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/af/2afe2b4a-c4a5-11e6-8eb2-0fc2436bc49e/5855b745a6a9f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C56"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/af/2afe2b4a-c4a5-11e6-8eb2-0fc2436bc49e/5855b745a6a9f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/af/2afe2b4a-c4a5-11e6-8eb2-0fc2436bc49e/5855b745a6a9f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C576"}}}],"revision":7,"url":"http://tucson.com/sports/greg-hansen-s-top-sports-figures-of/collection_02628226-c167-11e6-94bb-a72bd55ac7d4.html"}, {"id":"d8553cac-be60-11e6-9137-47b35fcbe38d","type":"link","starttime":"1481331600","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-09T18:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1481924156","priority":42,"sections":[{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"},{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"football":"sports/arizonawildcats/football"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is the latest celebrity to follow the Arizona Wildcats","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/the-rock-is-the-latest-celebrity-to-follow-the-arizona/collection_984c9034-bda1-11e6-b254-6b0051c20889.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/the-rock-is-the-latest-celebrity-to-follow-the-arizona/collection_984c9034-bda1-11e6-b254-6b0051c20889.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"What do Donald Trump, \"The Rock\" and Bill Murray all have in common? They all have ties to Arizona Wildcats sports.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#topstory","#topread"],"customProperties":{"label":"WILDCATS"},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"117602ae-bda4-11e6-b67c-1772db830b86","description":"Donald Trump with girlfriend Marla Maples at a University of Arizona basketball game at McKale Center in Tucson on Dec. 27, 1990. Linda Seeger Salazar / Tucson Citizen","byline":"Linda Seeger Salazar / Tucson Citizen","hireswidth":2371,"hiresheight":1617,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/17/117602ae-bda4-11e6-b67c-1772db830b86/5849f6c0a5ce5.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"423","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/17/117602ae-bda4-11e6-b67c-1772db830b86/5849f6c0a399e.image.jpg?resize=620%2C423"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/17/117602ae-bda4-11e6-b67c-1772db830b86/5849f6c0a399e.image.jpg?crop=1743%2C980%2C0%2C67&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/17/117602ae-bda4-11e6-b67c-1772db830b86/5849f6c0a399e.image.jpg?crop=1743%2C980%2C0%2C67&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/17/117602ae-bda4-11e6-b67c-1772db830b86/5849f6c0a399e.image.jpg?crop=1743%2C980%2C0%2C67&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":4,"url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/the-rock-is-the-latest-celebrity-to-follow-the-arizona/collection_984c9034-bda1-11e6-b254-6b0051c20889.html"} ]