OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- The United States Olympic Committee recently announced Mike Candrea (Casa Grande, Ariz.), who coached the 2004 USA Softball Women's National Team to its third consecutive Olympic gold medal in Athens, Greece, as the 2004 United States Olympic Committee National Coach of the Year.
“This is an incredible honor to receive from the USOC,” said Coach Candrea. “But the credit belongs to the players. I can’t tell you how proud I am of each one of them for their efforts during 2004. They were a great group of core athletes who were truly a pleasure to coach throughout the year. To be a part of this team and USA Softball is quite an honor.”
Coach Candrea led the 2004 USA Softball Women’s National team to its third consecutive Olympic gold medal with a perfect 9-0 run. Noted as one of the most dominant Olympic performances in history, the team consisted of 15 athletes; four two-time gold medalists, two one-time gold medalists, and nine rookies. Outscoring opponents 51-1, the U.S. broke 18-Olympic records during their run to the gold. Prior to the Games, Team USA traveled the country on a 53-game tour where they finished undefeated extending the pre-Olympic tour win streak to 167 dating back to May 3, 1996.
“Mike brings a confidence to the USA Softball program that is contagious,” said ASA/USA Softball Executive Director Ron Radigonda. “His coaching knowledge is unmatched in the sport. His leadership was an integral part of our success in Athens and it’s nice to see him recognized for those accomplishments.”
Dwayne Miller (Norfolk, Va./track & field), Barry Hunter (Ft. Washington, Md./boxing) and Mike Hulett (Des Plaines, Ill./sitting volleyball) were also selected as the 2004 USOC Developmental, Volunteer and National Paralympic coaches, respectively. Also honored during the May 1 Coach of the Year Recognition Banquet at the Home Depot Center in Carson was track & field's Joe Vigil (Green Valley, Ariz.), who received the "Doc" Counsilman Science Award.
National Coach of the Year finalists April Heinrichs (Gainesville, Va./U.S. Soccer), Yevgeny Marchenko (Plano, Texas/ USA Gymnastics), Eddie Reese (Austin, Texas/USA Swimming) and Dane Selznick (El Segundo, Calif./USA Volleyball) as well as Development Coach of the Year finalists Desmond Dickie (Toronto, Canada/USA Cycling), Pamela Gregory (Newark, Del./U.S. Figure Skating), Renee Hildebrand (Belleview, Fla./USA Roller Sports) and Drew Johansen (Columbus, Ohio/USA Diving) were also recognized during the May 1 event for their contributions to sport.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 88 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won seven World Championship titles including the last five consecutive. For more information about USA Softball, please visit www.usasoftball.com.
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