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Arizona parts ways with athletic director Dave Heeke, Mike Candrea tabbed as interim replacement

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USATSI

Arizona is parting ways with athletic director Dave Heeke after seven years, the university announced Monday night. Former Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea will serve in the role on an interim basis following the conclusion of Heeke’s tenure on Feb. 2.

“I want to thank Dave for his outstanding efforts in leading our athletics program through a period of significant change,” Arizona president Robert C. Robbins said in a release. “He helped get our men’s and women’s basketball programs and our football program on a strong trajectory, oversaw the success of several of our sports teams and greatly enhanced the student-athlete experience. Dave always displayed the highest integrity, and I am appreciative of his partnership and dedication. On behalf of all Wildcats, I wish Dave and Liz and their family all the best in the years to come.”

Arizona hired Heeke after an 11-year stint at Central Michigan to replace now-Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne in 2017. Heeke also spent 18 years at Oregon where he served as the associate athletic director.

Heeke led a handful of coaching searches that included hiring Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd as the Wildcats’ men’s basketball coach in 2021. In 2020 brought in New England Patriots quarterback coach Jedd Fisch to replace Kevin Sumlin. Most recently, he tabbed San Jose State’s Brent Brennan to replace Fisch after he took the vacant job at Washington.

Fisch was widely viewed as a successful hire after he helped transform the Wildcats from 1-11 in his first season to a 10-win campaign in 2023. It was the first time the Wildcats’ have won double-digit games since 2014.

On the hardwood, Lloyd is also regarded as a home run decision. After spending 20 years at Gonzaga as an assistant, Heeke hired the West Coast native to replace longtime coach Sean Miller. Lloyd has posted a 75-15 overall record at the school and the Wildcats have won the Pac-12 Tournament in both of his seasons at the helm.

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