For once, the Arizona Wildcats are poaching a coach from the SEC instead of the other way around. According to John Whittle of the BigSpur.com, South Carolina assistant Trip Couch is joining Chip Hale’s staff at Arizona.
Couch has spent the last four seasons with the Gamecocks—two as an assistant coach and two as the recruiting coordinator. Before that, he was an assistant at Louisiana from 1991 to 1992, Houston from 1995 to 2000 and then again from 2011 to 2017.
In between, Couch was an assistant at Texas in 2001 and a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks starting in 2002. At Texas, Couch handled team travel, NCAA practice logs, and team scheduling, while serving as the first-base coach.
In addition to coaching up the outfielders and having a key role in the offense, Couch helped South Carolina sign a 2020 recruiting class that was ranked No. 4 in the country by Perfect Game. The Gamecocks went 34-23 in 2021, good enough to reach NCAA Regionals. They finished 13th in the SEC in batting average, 12th in on-base percentage, and ninth in homers.
Hale mentioned in his introductory press conference that hiring assistants with a strong recruiting background is crucial because he has never coached at the college level before.
The Wildcats are also retaining Dave Lawn who has been on staff since 2016 and has been a college assistant since 1991. He will serve as Arizona’s pitching coach, replacing Nate Yeskie who left for Texas A&M after Jay Johnson left for LSU. Combined, Lawn and Couch have more than three decades of college assistant coaching experience.
“I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know,” Hale said. “We’re in the process of hiring a couple more coaches that have done this and know the landscape of recruiting. I’m learning very quickly. I’m hiring people who have done it for years, and I’m going to learn it from them and get out there. It’s something I’m actually excited about.”