The Arizona Wildcats’ search for a new pitching coach turned up a familiar name: Andy Lopez.
Although the UA officially added former Stanford aide Brock Ungricht to its staff on Friday, Ungricht, 29, will work primarily with catchers and hitters while Lopez — the Wildcats’ longtime head coach and 2012 College World Series champion — will focus much of his attention on the pitching staff.
It’s a familiar role: Lopez was in charge of the Wildcats’ pitchers in the years before he added Shaun Cole to his staff. Cole, the 2012 National Pitching Coach of the Year, left earlier this month to take a job with USA Baseball.
“I am really excited to welcome Brock to our staff,” Lopez said. “He fits everything I was looking for in the position. His high school and college coaching experience give him strong ties in this part of the country, especially within the Pac-12 Conference.”
Ungricht played for the late Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, finishing as one of the Aztecs’ all-time leaders in hits, RBIs and total bases. He spent the 2010 season as a volunteer assistant under Gwynn before accepting a similar job at Stanford. There, he helped the Cardinal advance to the NCAA Super Regionals three times.
Lopez also announced that Shelley Duncan, the UA’s all-time home runs leader and a former major leaguer, will be joining the Wildcats as an undergraduate assistant starting next season.
Duncan played for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays. He was invited to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring training in March, and spent time with the Louisville Bats, Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate, before retiring earlier this month.
Duncan, the father of 2-year-old twin boys, will finish his degree at the UA.
“Instead of just hanging on, I decided to move on to the next chapter of my life,” Duncan told the Star’s Greg Hansen this week. “I am going to get my degree. That’s a priority. I will also have a chance to unpack my bags and plant a garden, literally and figuratively.”
Lopez called Duncan “a great addition to our staff.”
“He brings tremendous experience as an accomplished major leaguer, and he has remained very close to our program since finishing his own outstanding career.”
The rest of Lopez’s staff should remain intact. Matt Siegel will handle the Wildcats’ hitters, while Michael Lopez — Andy Lopez’s son and a former UA pitcher — will serve as a graduate assistant.