Editor's note: This story first appeared Sunday as an exclusive for our print readers.
When you go 27-1 in your first two seasons as a high school football coach, life is good. So it continues for Canyon del Oro's Dusty Peace.
He learned last week that Dorados linebacker Blake Martinez, returning from Stanford's summer camp, was offered a scholarship by Cardinal coach David Shaw.
A few weeks earlier, Martinez visited Oregon State and was offered a scholarship by coach Mike Riley. In addition, Martinez plans to visit Boise State next month; Broncos coach Chris Petersen has already offered Martinez a scholarship. So has San Diego State.
Peace planned to drive to Phoenix on Saturday night to watch his former all-state running back, Ka'Deem Carey, and ex-CDO kicker Tilghman Harvey in the California vs. Arizona All-Star Game, but ultimately Arizona coach Mike Stoops, fearing injury, asked Carey not to participate.
"The good news is that Ka'Deem is fully qualified to play at Arizona this year," said Peace. "He's been with them in their 7-on-7 drills for several weeks. I have a lot of admiration for how hard he worked to finish all of his academic work. He's a good kid. He's going to be awesome."
Carey's availability somewhat offsets concerns that All-Pac-10 receiver Juron Criner might not be available for training camp in August. Criner's status for the 2011 season remains uncertain because of undisclosed medical reasons.
CDO, which is 50-5 over the last four seasons, did have one bumpy moment this summer. While traveling to San Diego for a passing league tournament two weeks ago, the bus transporting the Dorados broke down about 50 miles west of El Centro. The team and coaches spent eight hours on the side of the road while waiting for a replacement bus.
"We used it as a team-building, team-bonding experience," said Peace. "But we did give the bus company an earful."
Lopez staying at UA
Cats baseball coach upset about CS-Fullerton talk
After UA baseball coach Andy Lopez went to bed one night last week, incoming UA pitching recruit Matt Troupe phoned and left a message: "Coach, we've got to talk."
Troupe, a right-hander from Chatsworth, Calif., who was drafted in the 17th round by the New York Yankees, feared that Lopez was in pursuit of the Cal State-Fullerton coaching vacancy.
"My name was out there and I was not happy with that," said Lopez, who is 355-229-1 in 10 seasons at Arizona. "People connected to Fullerton called and said 'you need to be interested,' but I did not make a move in that direction. I'm not unhappy here. Our athletic director, Greg Byrne, has a vision and I consider him a real shot in the arm for our program."
Fullerton ultimately hired a former Titans assistant coach on Friday; Lopez's immediate concern is that junior outfielder Steve Selsky and junior first baseman Cole Frenzel return for the 2012 season. If so, the Wildcats likely would open the season as a top-10 team, or close.
"This isn't going to be decided until Aug. 14," said Lopez. The deadline for draft-eligible players to sign pro contracts is Aug. 15. "Like every summer, it's going to go down to the wire."
So far, the only Wildcat with remaining eligibility to sign is junior closer Matt Chaffee, who accepted a $100,000 signing bonus with the Atlanta Braves.
Pima football roster filled with 97 players … for now
Preparing for his third season as Pima College's football coach, Pat Nugent has 55 Tucson players on his 97-man roster. Now is when the fun begins. "Between now and the opening of camp on Aug. 1, we could have 15 players leave and 15 new players arrive," said Nugent. "That's the nature of junior college football. It goes both ways." Last week, Nugent lost Bisbee's Josue Miranda, who was penciled in as a starting offensive tackle as a freshman. But then Miranda accepted a late scholarship offer to Northern Colorado. Just as Miranda was departing, PCC acquired former Sabino and NAU lineman Stewart Tawney, who is likely to replace Miranda. Nugent also expects former Arizona State receiving recruit Justin Rodriguez to play for the Aztecs this year. "But you never know," Nugent said. "We probably won't know for sure until he shows up." … Former Mountain View High School quarterback James MacPherson, who was a starter at Wake Forest and an arena league standout, is now a full-time coach in the United Football League. He'll coach running backs for the Sacramento Mountain Lions. … UA track and field assistant coach Craig Carter, chosen as the 2011 assistant coach of the year by the USTFCCCA, was offered a job on the BYU staff recently. It was a tough decision for Carter, who grew up close to Provo, Utah, and worked in Provo before arriving in Tucson in 2006. "You know what: I've still got work to do here," said Carter, who coaches NCAA champion shot putter Julie Labonté and America's No. 1-ranked shot putter Jill Camarena-Williams. "I was very tempted to go to BYU; three of my (adult) children live in Utah. But I'm a Wildcat now."
More short stuff
UA's Chitwood aims for 2012 Games; 4th to Phelps in 200 back
Two-time Arizona NCAA swimming champion Cory Chitwood is now on the radar for the 2012 London Olympics. Chitwood, a senior in the fall, finished fourth to Michael Phelps in the 200- meter backstroke at last week's Grand Prix championships in Santa Clara, Calif., timed at 2 minutes 0.75 seconds. Phelps won with 1:57.05. Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics was the top club team at the event with 553 points, despite the absence of USA National Team members Matt Grevers and Annie Chandler, who were en route to France for the Paris Open. … The UA is likely to hire the best male diver in school history, Mexico's Omar Ojeda, to replace Michele Mitchell as the last piece to new coach Eric Hansen's coaching staff. Ojeda, who lives in his native Mexico, has a master's degree in finance from Arizona. … I would take Tucsonan Terrell Stoglin over any of the guards USA Basketball chose for its 19U team last week, including incoming ASU freshman Jahii Carson and Memphis' Joe Jackson. … Former UA Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Preston Guilmet is playing in the Carolina League All-Star Game this weekend. Guilmet has been superb as a relief pitcher for Class A Kinston. He has 17 saves in 27 1/3 innings with 29 strikeouts. … After two solid years on the Champions Tour, Tucsonan Ronnie Black has struggled this season. He has won $11,188 and failed to finish higher than 46th in any event. Much of the problem is that he has a pinched nerve that has limited the left side of his body, especially his arm function. But while playing in a Monday qualifier for the ongoing Dick's Sporting Goods Open, Black was stopped by a PGA Tour official in mid-round and informed he was fully in the field as an alternate. So on Friday, Black shot his round of the year, 6-under-par 66, and remains in contention entering today's final round in Endicott, N.Y.
High jump champ Barrett sets sight on Cats' record
UA junior Brigetta Barrett, the NCAA and USA champion in the high jump, won't lack for motivation down the line. In addition to challenging for the USA Olympic team in 2012, she hopes to break the school record, 6 feet 5 1/2 inches, set in 1992 by former Arizona All-American Tanya Hughes. The American record is 6-8 3/4, set last year by Chaunte Lowe. Barrett set her career record Friday at 6-4 3/4. … In her WNBA rookie season, former Arizona All-Pac-10 forward Ify Ibekwe has yet to score. Ibekwe has played just nine minutes in Seattle's first six games. … In 1984, Arizona Wildcats synchronized swimmer Tracie Ruiz won two gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics. She also led Arizona to two team national championships. Now her son, Michael Conforto, is going to play Pac-12 baseball. He signed to be an outfielder at Oregon State after a prep career in Redmond, Wash. … College basketball is such in Tucson that Sean Miller's new assistant coach, Joe Pasternack, will hold a press conference Monday at McKale Center. How often does that happen? Maybe at Kentucky and Duke, but not often. In the small-world department, Pasternack and Josh Pastner are cousins. … Here's a different perspective on UA hoops: I asked UA senior and Pac-10 champion steeplechaser Maggie Callahan if she thought impressive UA distance running coach Erin Dawson, a notable recruiter, was a female version of Pastner. "Who's Josh Pastner?" Callahan replied.
My two cents
Look for Candrea to hire two former UA standouts to his staff
This is what I think Mike Candrea will do to fix what troubles the UA softball program:
I think he'll hire the winningest pitcher in UA history, Alicia Hollowell, to be the team's new pitching coach. Hollowell was the pitching coach at UC-Davis the last two seasons and spent 2007 as a graduate assistant on Candrea's staff.
I also think he'll be able to persuade Stacy Iveson to leave Yavapai College, where she has won two national championships, and return to Tucson as Arizona's top assistant. Ordinarily, you'd think Iveson would be termed a head-coach-in-waiting if she rejoins her alma mater, but given the implosion the last time Arizona tried a coach-in-waiting scenario, with Kevin O'Neill, that is unlikely.
Candrea is only 54. He could coach for another decade or more. But after 25 years at Arizona, I suspect the fire within him burns more than ever.
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