Arizona Athletics Fall 2018 From A-Z

Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat Khalil Tate took college football by storm becoming the first quarterback in Pac-12 history to rush for 1,000 yards. He was also in the conversation for the most prestigous award for any position, the Heisman Trophy.

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A - Alyssa Palomino

Alyssa Palomino won her first All Pac-12 First Team Award this past year for Arizona softball after being third the Pac-12 in home runs (18) and slugging percentage (.784). She battled back from two injuries last year and is making a name for herself in the Pac-12.


Softball vs. Utah
Arizona first baseman, Alyssa Palomino, focuses on the incoming pitch from Utah during the game on Sunday, March 18.

B - Basketball

Ask any Arizona Wildcat fan and they’ll tell you that it’s all about basketball in the desert. The Wildcats have one national championship that they won back in 1997 and haven’t been to the Final Four since 2001. Arizona fans are hungry for another Final Four and national championship.

best of the year
Arizona men's basketball head coach Sean Miller smiles as he cuts down the net after the Arizona victory over USC Championship game at the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

C - Candrea

Candrea, as in Mike Candrea. The Arizona softball coach has been at the helm for 33 years now. He has a 1,547-397-2 record and has eight national championships. He has taken the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament for the last 32 years in a row, which is the longest streak in softball history.

Baseball/Softball Press Conference
Mike Candrea, head coach for Arizona's softball team, answers some questions about the upcoming season during a press conference held this Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.

D - Devils

Whether ASU comes down to Tucson or the Wildcats travel up to Tempe, you can always expect a close game. It’s one of the most intense rivalries in the country, with fans on both sides who just down right don’t like each other. The Territorial Cup trophy is the oldest rivalry trophy in the country and is given to the winner of the annual football game. ASU currently has the trophy in Tempe after beating the Wildcats last November.

The Arizona State mascot, Sparky, watches the UA-ASU rivalry game on Nov. 25 from the sidelines.

E - Elliott

Bob and Sean Elliott were two Arizona basketball players at two very different times in Arizona sports history. Bob Elliott was from Michigan and played from 1973-77. He set the record for most points in an Arizona basketball career with 2,131. Sean Elliott played at Cholla High School in Tucson and then played at the University of Arizona from 1985-89. He helped take Arizona to their first Final Four in 1988 and broke Lew Alcindor’s (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) points record in the Pac-12. 

sean elliot.jpg
Sean Elliott led the Wildcats to their first Final Four in the '87-'88 season and was selected as Pac-10 Player of the Year.

F - Fred Snowden

Fred “The Fox” Snowden was the Arizona basketball head coach from 1972-82 and was the first African American basketball coach at a major university. He got Bob Elliott to come to Tucson and got Arizona men’s basketball started. 

G - Geist

Jordan Geist was the first freshman to win the Pac-12 shotput and discus championships this past year. He had a throw of 20.06 meters in the shotput and 57.56 meters in discus. He’s only a freshman and will be a force to watch in future track and field events.

Pac 12 Freshman of the Year Jordan Geist

Jordan Geist prepares to release a shot put during the Desert Heat Classic on April 28, at the Roy P. Drachman Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

H - Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman played baseball at Arizona from 1988-89 as a shortstop. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1993 and eventually was traded to the San Diego Padres. While with the Padres, he was switched to a closer and had one of the best careers of all time. Hoffman finished with 601 career saves, which ranks second all-time behind Mariano Rivera. He was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame earlier this year. 

Trevor Hoffman Hall of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum class of 2018 press conference at the Regis Hotel in New York, N.Y. on Thursday, January 25, 2018. From left, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome will be honored as part of the Hall of Fame's Induction Weekend July 27-30, 2018 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

I - International

Athletics at Arizona have a big history of recruiting overseas. Looking at any sport at Arizona, there are athletes that come from across the world. Whether it’s from the Bahamas, Canada, Finland, or islands in the Pacific, these athletes usually come in and really make a name for themselves in an Arizona uniform.

UA USC final 1
Arizona's Dusan Ristic pumps up the crowd in Las Vegas as he checks back onto the bench in the final minutes of the Arizona-USC Championship game at the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

J - Jay Johnson

Jay Johnson has been the Arizona baseball coach since 2015 and has had a run of success with the ‘Cats. He took the team to Omaha in his first year but ultimately lost in the championship. In his first three years at Arizona he hasn’t had the big name recruits yet like other powerhouse schools, but that should change this upcoming year, as he’ll be in his fourth season and has been talking to recruits for a couple years now.

Baseball/Softball Press Conference
Jay Johnson, head coach for Arizona's baseball team, talks about what he expects for the upcoming season during a press conference held this Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.

K - Kevin Sumlin

Kevin Sumlin is the new football coach for this upcoming year. After Rich Rodriguez was let go in January, Sumlin became one of Arizona’s top targets and Dave Heeke was soon able to land the former Texas A&M coach. Sumlin comes to town with high expectations and will look to have an immediate impact on a football team that has the tools to make noise in the Pac-12.

UA Football Spring Scrimmage

Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin watches the University of Arizona football team warm up before a scrimmage in the spring football season on Saturday, April 7, in Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.

L - Lute Olson

Lute Olson is a household name when it comes to Arizona men’s basketball. The former head coach built the program into the national powerhouse it is now. He led the Wildcats to their first Final Four and won the program’s only NCAA Championship back in 1997. Arizona also built a statue of Olson and unveiled it outside the McKale Center in April.

Lute Olson statue unveiling
The statue honoring former basketball coach Lute Olson was unveiled at the Eddie Lynch Athletics Pavilion on April 12. Olson is referred to as one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time and was a seven-time Pac 10 coach of the year.

M - My-King Johnson

After redshirting his first year, My-King Johnson will make his debut on the football field for Arizona. He made NCAA history before the start of last season by becoming the first openly gay football player on scholarship. The whole Arizona team and community has been looking forward to seeing what he can do on the field this upcoming season. 

N - Nick Foles

Nick Foles was the Arizona quarterback from 2009-2011. He finished his three years at Arizona with 10,011 passing yards and led Arizona to the Alamo Bowl in 2010. Last year he led the Philadelphia Eagles on a magical playoff run and eventually beat the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. He was also named the Super Bowl MVP.

Nick Foles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles throws a pass during the 1st quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, December 2, 2012.

O - Offense

Arizona football had a dynamic offense in 2017 and is expected to have more of the same this year. Khalil Tate was the most exciting player in college football last year. He won four straight Pac-12 player of the week honors during October. He can do it all from running the ball to throwing downfield and making important decisions. J.J. Taylor will lead an explosive Arizona backfield that looks to continue to be one of the best in the Pac-12. Wide receiver Shun Brown will be part of a receiving core hoping to catch touchdown passes from Tate.

football 11/11/17 (3)
A referee holds up the sign for a touchdown for Arizona during the UA-Oregon State game on Nov. 11 at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats beat the Beavers 49-28.

P - Postseason 

2017 was a successful year for Arizona Athletics. Basketball, football, softball, soccer and hockey (even though it’s a club sport) all made postseason appearances. Next year should see similar success based on recruits coming in and new coaches. 

Study abroad soccer
Arizona defender Sabrina Enciso (16) passes TCU defense during the NCAA first round on Nov. 10.

Q - Quarterbacks 

After Khalil Tate, the quarterback situation goes as follows: K’hari Lane, Rhett Rodriguez and then Andrew Tovar. Tovar and Lane are both redshirt freshman while Rodriguez is a sophomore. Lane is an interesting story. He had great success at a small high school in Georgia but was overlooked by every other college besides Grambling State. When he got offered by Arizona, he signed and came to Tucson. He redshirted last season and is now available for the 2018 season. 

Khalil Tate took college football by storm becoming the first quarterback in Pac-12 history to rush for 1,000 yards. He was also in the conversation for the most prestigous award for any position, the Heisman Trophy.

R - Rose Bowl

Arizona has never been to the Rose Bowl, but this year with Khalil Tate, Kevin Sumlin and an impressive defense that will returns most of its starters, there might not be a better chance. USC and UCLA are expected to have down years and the Rose Bowl isn’t one of the games for the College Football Playoff. Could this be the year for Arizona football?

S - Sean Miller

Sean Miller is the current basketball coach. This past year, he has been caught up in FBI investigations involving a pay-for-play scheme. As a result, Miller’s recruiting took a hit and ever since the end of the basketball season he’s been scrambling to get transfers and whoever else he can find. Despite this challenge, Miller has managed to haul in a top-25 recruiting class. While most people are expecting a down year for the team, don’t be shocked to see this team compete for another Pac-12 conference title.

red and blue2.jpg
Sean Miller speaks to fans in McKale Center before the annual men's basketball McDonald's Red-Blue game on Oct. 20.

T - Tate 

After putting up video game numbers last season under center for Arizona football, Khalil Tate will be looking to prove that last season wasn’t a hoax. Many people are expecting Arizona as one of the favorites in the Pac-12 South this season, and that’s because of the quarterback. Tate is already at 9/1 odds to win the Heisman

UA v. USC 1
An emotional Khalil Tate walks off the field after the UA-USC game. USC beat Arizona 49-35.

U - Underrated athlete

Whether it’s because Arizona baseball is having a disappointing year or because he gets overshadowed by other big name players on the team, sophomore Nick Quintana is one of the best third baseman in the conference. He has a .291 BA with 12 home runs and has a sure glove hand with a laser arm. 

FOB Sports
Nick Quintana batting at the game against Hartford on Dec. 27. 2017.

V - Volleyball

2017 was the first time in 10 years that the Arizona volleyball team finished below a .500 record. In those past 10 years alone, Arizona volleyball has a strong conference contender, consistently ranked and always competing with the top schools in the country.

volleyball 10/13/17 (2)

The Arizona volleyball team holds hands before their game against Utah on Oct. 13 in McKale Center.

W - Wildcats

Arizona got the name “Wildcats” back in 1914 after it played Occidental College in a football game that it ultimately lost. After the game, a Los Angeles Times columnist wrote, “They showed the fight of Wildcats,” and the name stuck.

UA v. USC 22
Wilbur the Wildcat snoozes peacefully amidst jeers and booes from the USC crowd.

X - X Factor

Arizona football has a rich tradition of having strong place kickers, but the last couple of seasons have been nothing special. That should all change this year. Lucas Havrisik came to Arizona last year as a five-star kicker. He didn’t see too much action last year but when he did come in, he nailed 50-plus yard field goals and was almost always reliable to get a touchback on kickoffs. He could be the x-factor Arizona needs if it wants to make a run in the Pac-12 South.

Y - Youth 

2018 is supposed to be a rebuilding year for Arizona basketball. The entire starting five from last year either graduated or left for the NBA draft. This year, the team is going to be made up of transfers who have never played together, sophomores who didn’t see much court time last season and a couple of new recruits. Most of the players who will see playing time will be either 18 or 19 years old and they’ll be going against some of the best teams in the country with Oregon, UCLA and other teams from the Pac-12 expected to have a good season. 

UA Basketball 4
Arizona's Brandon Randolph shoots two free throws after being fouled.

Z - ZonaZoo

ZonaZoo is the student section at Arizona. In 2015 and 2018 they won the NCSSA Loud and Proud award for best student section in the country. They have a section close to the field for football and close to the court for basketball. They’re the best seats in the stadium, where every student should be on game day.

ZonaZoo FLAG
The "A" flag is held up by Arizona cheerleaders during the UA-Oregon State game on Nov. 11 at Arizona Stadium.

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