TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Athletics Department has announced its 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Initiation Class, which includes five former Wildcat student-athletes, two former head coaches and a former sports director. The Class of 2022 represents Arizona Athletics’ Wildcat Way mission at the highest level with true academic, athletic and life champions who are National Champions, Olympic Medalists, College All-Americans, Wildcat Icons and Trailblazers.
Arizona Sports Hall of Fame – Class of 2022
- Fred Batiste – Arizona Football and Track Student-Athlete – 1949 to 1950
- Mike Candrea – Arizona Softball Head Coach – 1985 to 2021
- Cory Chitwood – Arizona Swimming & Diving Student-athlete – 2008 to 2012
- Ben Grado – Arizona Swimming & Diving Student-athlete – 2008 to 2012
- Brittany Lastrapes – Arizona Softball Student-Athlete – 2008-2011
- Jim Livengood – Arizona athletic director – 1994 to 2009
- Austen Thompson – Student-athlete Arizona Swimming & Diving – 2009 to 2012
- Willie Williams – Arizona track and field head coach – 1969 to 1982
The official induction ceremony will take place on the evening of Thursday, September 8 at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa Hotel.
CAMBRIC was a true pioneer of the Wildcats as the first black student-athlete of any sport in Arizona when he joined Arizona’s football and track and field programs in 1949 after serving in the military during the Second World War. A hurdler on the track and a peerless player on the football field, Batiste still holds impressive records more than 70 years after the end of his career. His 87-yard punt return against Denver in the 1949 season is still the third longest return in program history. Batiste overcame racial discrimination throughout his career to pave the way for future colored Wildcats to compete.
CANDREA retired in 2021 after 36 seasons at the helm of the Arizona softball program during which he not only lifted the program into the nation’s spotlight, but also helped grow the game of softball across the country And in the world. He guided Arizona to eight national championships and retired as the game’s winningest coach with 1,674 wins. His 1,674 wins were fifth among Division I coaches of any sport at the time of his retirement. Candrea guided the Wildcats to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City 24 times, in addition to winning National Coach of the Year four times. The iconic Wildcat also coached Team USA at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, winning gold and silver medals.
CHITWOOD was a 14-time All-American during his prestigious career as a Wildcat, which included winning the NCAA championship on backstroke in three straight seasons. He was a member of Arizona’s national championship team in 2008 and was on the Pac-12 varsity team in four different seasons. During his 2012 national championship season, Chitwood recorded the nation’s fastest times in the 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley while clocking the second fastest time in the NCAA in the 100-meter backstroke. He still holds the three best times in program history in three different disciplines.
GRADO capped off his college career with some of the most dominating diving performances in school history. The 2012 Pac-12 Diver of the Year won conference titles in all three dives at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships before winning the individual national championship in platform diving. All-American in platform diving in 2012 and springboard diving in 2010, Grado was also a member of Arizona’s 2008 national championship team in which he was crowned Pac-10 newcomer to the year. He still holds the program’s all-time mark in the platform dive in a championship encounter with an impressive score of 487.25.
(LASTRAPES) THACKERIE was a four-time All-American outfielder for the Wildcats who led the NCAA in runs, hits and total bases during the 2009 season. His four-year decorated career included three First-Team All- Pac-10 and led the conference in runs scored and hits scored in 2009 and 2010. She is the proud owner of numerous top-10 single-season stats in program history that include batting average, hits, runs and doubles in three different seasons. When she graduated, Lastrapes ranked in the top 10 in Pac-10 history for career runs, doubles and hits while recording a career-high 10 in the program history for runs, batting average, walks and hits.
LIVE guided the athletics department from 1994 to 2009 through a period of championship excellence. The Wildcats won 11 NCAA National Tag Team Championships during his tenure, including 36 Pac-10 titles. Arizona has finished in the Sears Directors Cup top 10 in 11 different years with Livengood leading the department. He also started the “Arizona Campaign for the Student-Athlete”, which was the basis for the creation and redesign of many athletic facilities, including the Eddie Lynch Athletics Pavilion, the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium, the Bill Estes Jr. Family Strength & Conditioning Center and Kasser Sports. Medicine Center, among others, as well as directing early plans and approvals for the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. Livengood was also instrumental in expanding Arizona’s pioneering CATS programs that focus on the holistic development of student-athletes.
TOMPSON continued the long line of Wildcats greats in the pool from 2008 to 2012. He capped his career by winning the 2012 NCAA title in the 400-meter individual medley. Thompson was a four-time All-American during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. An Academic All-American and Pac-12 All-Academic team selection in his senior year, he still holds the second-fastest time in the 400-meter individual medley in program history with his time of 3:39.15 for the NCAA title as well as the sixth-fastest time in the 200-meter individual medley and sixth-fastest time in school history at the 200 meters breaststroke.
WILLIAMS was a trailblazer for the Wildcats as the first black head coach in major college sports history when he was hired as Arizona Athletics head coach in 1969. His coaching experience included Vance Johnson and Meg Ritchie winning the NCAA national championships just months after her death. Throughout his tenure as head coach, Williams guided student-athletes to All-American honors on two dozen different occasions. He spent his decade and a half as a head coach elevating Arizona’s athletics program from its humble roots to a Wildcat championship and elite student-athlete program. He is the namesake of the program’s long-running home meet, the Willie Williams Classic, which began shortly after his passing in the mid-1980s.