Lopez officially named baseball coach

It didn't come to a surprise for anyone, but Andy Lopez was officially named as the head baseball coach of the University of Arizona. Lopez becomes only the fifth coach in the last 80 years of Wildcat baseball.

"I am honored, humbled and thankful for this opportunity," Lopez said. "I am close to Coach Kindall, Coach Wing and Coach Stitt and have always admired the success they have had at Arizona. I am excited to be a part of the Wildcat baseball tradition,"

Lopez, 47, was fired as the coach of the Florida Gators, despite reaching the post season 5 out his 7 years in Gainsville, including two trips to the College World Series. Before that he coached at Cal-State Dominguez Hills and at Pepperdine. He led the Waves to the 1992 national championship.

"Even though we're not in Los Angeles, it feels like we're coming back home," Lopez said. "I hope to be the coach here a long, long time. I'd better be, my wife and I bought a home yesterday."

Lopez has amassed a 687-418-6 (.618) record in 19 years as a college head coach.

Lopez has been on Athletic Director Jim Livengood's radar screen since his days at Washington State.

"Andy Lopez is a perfect fit for the head baseball position at the University of Arizona," Livengood said. "Our future never looked brighter and Andy Lopez is an extremely big part of that."

Lopez was let go by Florida in a controversial move. Despite being racked with injuries, Lopez still coached his last two team to the post-season. "I had no intention of resigning my post at Florida," Lopez said. "I lost almost my entire pitching staff to injury. Before that I hadn't had a pitcher miss a start in almost 20 years." After the dismissal Lopez was contacted by the man he will now replace, Jerry Stitt. When it appeared that Stitt was on his way out in Tucson, he gave Lopez his blessing to pursue to post. "He (Stitt) called and said, 'I think you're the guy for that job'." Lopez believes that Arizona can return to the glory of the past. Lopez is not shy when he believes Arizona can return to Omaha. "I tell my players, 'I want you to be dumb enough to believe the impossible'. I'm not shy in saying that I think Arizona can win a national championship."

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