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The Associated Press | May 25, 2015

Arizona coach Lopez ends 33-year career

  Andy Lopez won two national titles in his career, including in 2012 with Arizona.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Andy Lopez is retiring after a 14-year stint as Arizona's coach that included a pair of College World Series appearances and the 2012 national title.

Lopez, 61, had quadruple bypass surgery in 2013, but didn't miss a game while winning 487 times in the desert. He won 1,174 games during a 33-year career that included stops at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida.

"I never dreamed this big when I was 12 years old," Lopez said in a statement. "I have loved playing and coaching this game, and it has taken to me all over the world. I have been fortunate to develop life-long relationships that I cherish each and every day, and now I can dedicate more time to the people that mean the most to me."

A three-time national coach of the year, Lopez led Arizona to the College World Series for the first time in 18 years in 2004 and less than a decade later took the Wildcats to their fourth national championship as a program. Lopez also won a national title at Pepperdine in 1992.

He coached 39 All-Americans and had 131 players who went on to sign professional contracts, including seven who were first-round picks in the Major League Baseball draft.

Arizona finished 30-24 overall and 12-18 in the Pac-12 this season after going 22-33 a year ago.

"Andy Lopez is one of the great coaches college athletics has ever seen, more importantly he is a better man," Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said. "We've been so fortunate to have Andy as the leader of our baseball program for the last 14 years. While we'll certainly miss his presence on a day-to-day basis, Andy will forever be engrained in the history of Arizona baseball and remembered for his ability to lead and mentor young men."

 

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