By JASON WEIR
Softball head coach Armando Quiroz recently surpassed 400 wins at Pima Community College. He had 412 wins as of April 4, the most on record at PCC.
The milestone caused the coach to reflect on his eight seasons with the Aztecs.
“My thoughts go to all the talented and wonderful young ladies that have come through this program,” Quiroz said.
“Nothing would be possible without their sacrifices and commitments,” he added. “They continue to amaze me with their skill level and the undying love they have for the game.
Quiroz is just as quick to give his coaching staff credit.
“The best group of coaches anyone could ever hope to have,” he said. “I am humbled every day by their selfless commitments to our young ladies. Nothing ever happened on our team ‘til they all did their jobs. We have 400 wins and counting, thank you.”
A Tucson native, Quiroz was hired by Pima in 2008 after a stint with Eastern New Mexico University from 2005-07.
Quiroz coached softball at Flowing Wells High School from 1999-2004 (161-48-1).
There, he was able to coach his daughter, Rebekah, to back-to-back state championships in 1999 and 2000. Quiroz’s 2001 team was ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN in March 2001.
He met his wife of 35 years, Elsa, in Tucson. Rebekah is one of their three children. They also have a son Armando Jr. and another daughter, Katy.
Family is very important to Quiroz. While at Eastern New Mexico University, his family was still in Tucson when he found out his son was going to war, the first of two tours.
“I just knew at that point I better come home,” Quiroz said.
Eastern New Mexico did not want to lose him and offered him more money to stay.
“It’s not about money, it is about family,” Quiroz told them. “My son is going to war and I need to be home with my wife.”
His mantra for players is faith, family, school, softball. “We are hard-nosed softball people, but it is still number four on the list.”
Rebekah Quiroz has been an assistant coach with her father in each of his eight years at Pima.
“He expects to win and treats his girls like family,” she said. “They trust him.”
The younger Quiroz hopes to someday inherit the head job.
“I hope to take over this program and do the same exact thing he has been doing,” she said. “A winning program. He has taught me very well.”
She is not the only one to recognize his gift. The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Quiroz in 2008.
“I was honored,” he said of his induction. “We never enter this profession thinking Hall of Fame.”
After graduating from Tucson Magnet High School, Quiroz went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.
He earned both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees with a 4.0 grade point average.
He calls his current team a work in progress as they head into the playoffs.
“Effort and attitude are controllable and this team has done a great job with these two qualities,” he said.
The No. 16 Aztecs are currently 33-14, 21-11 in ACCAC, and gearing up for the ACCAC tournament May 6.
“We have progressed so far from the fall season but must continue to do so daily,” Quiroz said. “We are working hard to peak at playoff time in early May.
“They have worked hard and sacrificed like our past teams and that’s all I can ask of them,” he added. “We have kept our eyes on the prize at the end of the regular season.”