UA BASEBALL

Arizona baseball: Lopez's 'passion,' title result in new deal

2013-02-13T00:00:00Z Arizona baseball: Lopez's 'passion,' title result in new dealDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Andy Lopez likes Tucson.

His wife, Linda, loves it. And the Arizona Wildcats baseball coach wants to keep her happy as much as possible.

So when Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne and deputy athletic director Rocky LaRose quietly offered Lopez a five-year contract extension and raise after he led the UA to a College World Series championship last summer, he accepted.

In fact, it was a no-brainer for the veteran coach.

"I don't have an agent, I don't have a lawyer. I have my wife," Lopez said. "When (Byrne) offered, I said 'Yeah, sounds great,' and we shook hands.

"Any time they want to give me more years, I'll take it."

Lopez, 59, will make a base salary of $160,000 this season, an increase of more than $7,000 from his previous deal. He will also receive $210,000 a year from outside sources, notably Nike and batmaker Hillerich & Bradsby. The Wildcats use the company's Louisville Slugger TPX models. That figure is up $40,000 from his last contract.

Lopez can also make another $50,000 in bonuses, bringing the maximum value of his deal to as much as $420,000 annually.

Lopez, who will guide the Wildcats in their season opener Friday night against Coppin State, is locked in as the UA's coach through 2017. The contract was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in September; Lopez signed the deal a couple of months later.

"The job he's done as head baseball coach at Arizona is outstanding, and he's got a tremendous passion for baseball, the student-athlete and for the University of Arizona," Byrne said.

"I hope he's our coach for a long time. Hopefully, this contract is a good sign by both Coach Lopez and our university that we want him to be our coach for a long time."

If Lopez and the Wildcats win another national title, the coach would receive a 15 percent salary increase. Bonuses for academic success are also built into the new contract.

"I have found more perspective in Tucson and with this administration more than anywhere else I've coached," Lopez said. "I find that very refreshing.

"I'm a baseball coach. The challenges and headaches I've had here, I've had everywhere."

Lopez is preparing to enter his 12th season as the Wildcats coach with a 403-246-1 mark since taking over. He has led the UA to two College World Series appearances and has qualified for the NCAA tournament in 10 of his 12 seasons.

The veteran leader has drawn coaching interest from powerhouse programs Cal State-Fullerton, USC and UCLA during his time in Tucson.

"I'm very fortunate to do what I'm doing," Lopez said. "I like working with Greg Byrne, and I like working at the University of Arizona. I really do."

Up next

• Who: Coppin State at Arizona, season opener

• When: 6 p.m. Friday

• Where: Hi Corbett Field

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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