Arizona's Ooh Ahh Man, Joe Cavaleri cheers on the crowd during the second half at McKale Center, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, as UA defeated ASU 80-69. UA's Derrick Williams had 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists as the top performer of the game.

David Sanders Arizona Daily Star

Joe Cavaleri, who has been leading cheers as the Arizona Wildcats'  Ooh Aah Man since 1979, is retiring. 

Cavaleri will perform for the final time at Saturday's rivalry game against Arizona State, then travel to the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament as a guest of the UA athletic department. Cavaleri will continue to attend basketball games and sit in his usual seats under the basket, athletic director Greg Byrne wrote in his "Wildcat Wednesdays" newsletter. 

Cavaleri's career as an unlikely cheerleader began at baseball games, where the bearded superfan led the faithful in chants of "Ooh Ahh, Omaha". 

"I stood up and starting going 'Ooh, aah, sock it to 'em, Cats,'" Cavaleri told the Star's Greg Hansen in 2010. "People responded. Pretty soon it was wild and noisy. The Cats won and they took me with them to the College World Series in Omaha. It just took off from there."

Cavaleri had been a fan of legendary Baltimore Orioles superfan "Wild Bill" Hagy, who would stand in the upper deck at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and use his body to spell "O-r-i-o-l-e-s."

Lately, Cavaleri has been beset by a handful of health issues, including Parkinson's disease.