Saluting ex-Cat Lovieanne Jung for Asian-American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The month of May is Asian-American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and as an homage to former Wildcat Lovie Jung, I sat down to chat with the Wildcat legend.

It’s officially May folks, and for those that don’t know, that means it is Asian-American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. So as an homage and salute to the heritage it is my honor to spotlight a great Asian-American & Pacific Islander, Lovieanne Jung (aka Lovie Jung), a Filipino American.

Lovie was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1980, and moved to Southern California when she was just seven. Upon arriving in California, the family was poor, she and her family moved in with an Aunt in Santa Ana, CA. Many family members lived in the house, it was crowded.

After quickly securing jobs and saving enough money, Lovie’s parents, William and Gloria, were able to secure a small apartment. Today, Lovie’s mom and dad own a home in Southern California and show that hard work pays off and goes a long way in America.

William and Gloria worked hard to provide for the family and every step of the way they advised and guided Lovie. Her parents have always been and still are a huge influence on her and were involved and by her side when she decided to transfer from Fresno State (1999-2000) to Arizona after two seasons.

Jung was an All-American at Fresno State, hitting .330 her freshman year and .391 her sophomore year while playing second base. She did not start playing organized softball until she was 12, and before playing formally on an organized team, she mainly played pick-up baseball games with boys.

Now known as being a legendary softball player, she returns to O’ahu and visits with her many family members still living there once or twice a year (schedule permitting).

Lovie and I discussed everything from Arizona Softball, Team USA, Role Models, Firefighters/First Responders, being a Filipino American, Parents, Motherhood, etc.

With that said, here is my interview with Lovie!

KB What Life Lessons did you Learn from Coach Candrea?

LJ “Too many to count but one of the biggest ones which you will hear out of every one of his athletes’ mouths is to balance, to balance school, going to practice, games, social life, you have to have a balance, you can’t have more love for one aspect of that balance or else you will be out of balance. Have good people around you. I was able to strive to become an Arizona player, as well as an Olympian and Firefighter because I kept my circle and the village of people that support me small.”

KB How many years have you been a Firefighter/First Responder, what is your Duty Position/ Department, and how has your Role Changed because of the Pandemic?

LJ “10 Years, Engineer. Riverside City, California Fire Department. My role stayed the same, everybody’s role on the fire engine, truck, or the squad stayed the same. We took it as something else we had to deal with. In our career as Firefighters First Responders, we are resilient, we go with the flow with whatever comes our way, nothing ever seems what it is when we get on scene. So, having Covid obviously, our policies changed a little bit. We had to start masking up and wearing extra PPE once we got on certain calls.”

KB What is your Favorite thing about being a Firefighter First Responder?

LJ “Every day is different. I can come to work, run an incident with a traffic collision, run a lot of medical aid, Covid obviously is something different that kind of put a wrench in our day to day activities and also we train a lot which is something that I am used to as an athlete. You train, train, train. I like going out and training with a crew just to be ready for any incident, you never know.”

KB Name three pieces of advice that you would give a 13-year-old girl striving to be a player at Arizona Softball?

LJ “Work hard, remember no matter how good or how great you get, you always plateau. There is always somebody behind you wanting to take your spot, it doesn’t matter.

I would have to say failure is an opportunity. A lot of people think that failure is failure. I look at it as that door closes, another one opens, but you can also break that door down, it’s not permanently closed.

People need to look at failure in a different light, as long as you don’t fail the same thing multiple times over and over and over again, you get back up and learn from your failures. It’s a good thing because you are learning.

If you don’t fail you’re not going to get better down the road and then when you actually come to something you are failing at, you’re not going to be very good at being resilient and getting back up and fighting for what you want as an athlete”.

KB Pertaining to Softball, Who is your biggest Peer Influence?

LJ “Leah O’Brien-Amico. She is amazing at everything she does. We always give her a hard time, the Arizona girls do, we call her Amazing Leah. She holds records at the Women’s College World Series, she makes awesome plays, has gold medals, won World Series Championships. With everything she has accomplished, she is very humble about it. She will give the shirt off her back for anybody.”

KB What is your most Memorable or Favorite Win as an Arizona Wildcats Softball Player?

LJ “The very first game that I ever played in as an Arizona Wildcat because I transferred from another college and had to wait one and a half years to play. I red-shirted. All I did was practice, work out. I couldn’t even travel with the team because of the rules back then it wasn’t allowed so I just trained. So, yes because I waited so long, my very first win as an Arizona Wildcat is my Favorite”. That Win was against Alabama on February 1st, 2002. The Cats won 8-2.”

KB What is your overall proudest accomplishment?

LJ “Being a Mother”.

Lovie Jung, Leah O’Brien-Amico, Jennie Finch-Daigle, and Head Coach Mike Candrea were all ambassadors for Arizona Softball together in 2004. This team is considered by some to be the most dominant Fast Pitch Softball Team ever assembled with a perfect 9-0 record and winning the Gold Medal. Team USA outscored its opponents 51-1.

Some of Jung’s Team USA Achievements (Second Base 1999-2008)

  • Gold Medal at Olympics Athens, Greece 2004
  • Silver Medal at Olympics Beijing, China 2008
  • Gold Medal at Pan American Games and World Cup Champion 2007
  • Gold Medal at ISF World Championship 2006
  • Gold Medal at Pan Am Qualifier 2005
  • Gold Medal at Pan American Games 2003
  • Gold Medal at ISF World Championship 2002
  • Silver Medal at ISF Junior Women’s World Championship 1999

Some of Jung’s Achievements as an Arizona Wildcat (Shortstop 2002-2003)

  • 2x First Team NFCA All American
  • 2x First Team All PAC-10 Conference
  • PAC-10 Conference Newcomer of the Year
  • 1 x WCWS Appearance, earning WCWS All Team Honors
  • Top 3 Finalist for Collegiate National Player of the Year
  • University of Arizona Hall of Fame 2008 Inductee
  • Career Batting Average .461

Jung continues to be a Role Model and Professional years after her formal playing career and she is a Wildcat for Life. She willingly gives back to the Softball Community as a guest speaker and visiting girls at Softball Camps and practices. She enjoys sharing her experiences not only as an Arizona and Olympic Softball Player but also as a Firefighter First Responder. Lovieanne Jung is one of the best in America to ever wear a uniform.