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gato salvaje
04-20-2005, 11:52 AM
http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/index.php?page=college&story_id=042005c1_corky

CORKY: Cats leap forward under Lopez

CORKY SIMPSON
Tucson Citizen


Checked out the Pac-10 baseball standings lately?
That's not an alphabetical listing of league membership - Arizona is smack-dab on top of the heap with a 10-2 record.

The main reason? Coach Andy Lopez. In four seasons, the Andycats have achieved a winning record, then the NCAA regionals and last year, a return to the College World Series in Omaha.

Arizona began a four-game nonleague road swing yesterday at New Mexico, which is coached by Tucson native and former Pima College head coach Rich Alday. UA won 14-3 (see story, 2C).

Alday, a friend of Lopez for years, said, "Andy's done a great job. You have to admire what the Cats have accomplished."

No. 6-ranked UA returns to conference action April 29, hosting Southern Cal in a huge series. Each game against the Trojans will be televised. The Sunday finale will be ESPN's national telecast.

Lopez's team took two of three games from Oregon State in Tucson over the weekend and moved 2 1/2 games in front of the Beavers, Arizona State and USC. Those three schools are tied for second place.

"It's been fun," Lopez said. "I'm fortunate to have been down this (rebuilding) road before. That's been the story of my life in coaching, from high school to (Cal State-) Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine, Florida and now, Arizona.

"The coaches on my staff have identified good players. Trevor Crowe, John Meloan, Nick Hundley, Jordan Brown, Brad Boyer, Jason Donald, Eric Berger - we've brought in guys who were recruited by everybody out there."

Andy would be coaching at his alma mater, UCLA, if it hadn't been for his friendship with Wildcat athletic director Jim Livengood.

"I work for a great man," Lopez said. "You are always 'tugged' to return to your alma mater. But working for Jim is a joy I can't even describe.

"I probably would have gone to UCLA. I played there and I'm in the hall of fame there, but it means more to me to work with Jim."

Livengood seconds the motion.

"I pinch myself every day to make sure we really do have Andy as our coach," he said. "He's not only the best coach in baseball, he's one of the classiest individuals. They don't come any better than Andy and his wife, Linda. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure they never leave.

"We play USC here, and I really believe all of Tucson should be there to show this team and the coaches how much we appreciate their efforts."

Their league-leading efforts.

catgrad97
04-20-2005, 12:08 PM
This story is as good an occasion as any to give it up for Jim Livengood. How some people who call themselves Wildcat sports fans and not appreciate what Livengood has done in Tucson is utterly beyond my comprehension. The man brought in Andy Lopez and Mike Stoops--and will retain Lute Olson for the duration.

Lute has even promised to retire if/when Livengood is no longer AD at the U of A. Who could have possibly done a better job at Arizona over the last decade? Kevin White? Andy Geiger? Please.

There are people out there who need to stop being petty and show some love for the man responsible for making U of A athletics one of THE most competitive all-around of its department in the country.

gato salvaje
04-20-2005, 01:17 PM
I have to agree w/ you Catgrad. The guy knows his stuff.

I even thought his decision to hire Mac-a-dic was a good one (at the time).

All in all I've been extremely pleased with what he has done with our athletic program, and the Classiness he's shown doing it.

Ben Hansen
04-20-2005, 01:56 PM
i'm also a huge fan oflopez and, especially, livengood.

killervibe
04-20-2005, 05:07 PM
I wasnt aware there was a contingent of people that complained about JL. He did fire Tomey and bring in Mack but everyone makes a mistake from time to time.

catgrad97
04-20-2005, 06:20 PM
Mostly it was over the decision to bring in Mack, KV. There is a p*ssed minority out there who can't give Livengood his due just because he decided to bring in the leading candidate for the football job before Tomey was hired in 1988.

Hell, I certainly thought that hiring Mackovic was the right decision at the time. It was truly disillusioning to see how distant, cold and unprofessional of a coach John Mackovic turned out to be. But that's Mack's problem, not Livengood's.