Arizona baseball has a new head coach but it’s a familiar face.
Chip Hale is returning to Tucson to replace Jay Johnson, who left for LSU after leading the Wildcats to the 2021 College World Series.
Hale, 56, was an infielder at the UA from 1984-87, won a College World Series in 1986 and is still the program’s all-time leader in games played (255), hits (337), total bases (507), sacrifice flies (21) and walks (162).
Per a UA release, Hale will receive a five-year contract, pending Board of Regents approval, and will be officially introduced in a press conference on Wednesday, July 7 at a time and location to be determined.
“I am thrilled and excited to have Chip lead our iconic baseball program,” athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “Chip has long been a member of the Wildcat Family as a former student-athlete and has always remained close to our University and to our Tucson community. He has played and coached at the highest levels of the game and brings an unbridled passion and enthusiasm to his work. I have no doubt that Chip embraces the Wildcat Way mission we share at Arizona Athletics, and that he will mentor and develop future generations of Wildcat champions on the diamond, in the classroom, and in the community.”
A San Jose native, Hale was serving as the Detroit Tigers’ third base coach before being hired by Arizona. He has never coached college baseball but has almost two decades of coaching/managerial experience in the major and minor leagues.
Hale will need to hire assistant coaches who have West Coast recruiting ties and can help him convince current players to stay in Tucson. Over a dozen are currently in the transfer portal.
“I am very honored and excited to be the new head baseball coach at the University of Arizona,” Hale said in a statement. “We will work tirelessly to build on the success that has been established here and continue to coach and develop our Wildcats to be champions on the field and in the classroom. With the help and support of the University of Arizona and the Wildcat Family, we plan on making many trips to Omaha!”
Here are some more facts about Hale’s coaching career.
CHIP HALE COACHING HISTORY
- 2004-06: Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders, Manager
- 2007-09: MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, Third Base Coach
- 2010-11: MLB New York Mets, Third Base Coach
- 2012-14: MLB Oakland Athletics, Bench Coach
- 2015-16: MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, Manager
- 2017: MLB Oakland Athletics: Bench Coach
- 2018-20: MLB Washington Nationals, Bench Coach
- 2021: MLB Detroit Tigers, Third Base Coach
CHIP HALE PLAYING HISTORY
- 1984-87: NCAA Arizona Wildcats
- Selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round of the 1987 MLB Draft
- 1989-96: MLB Minnesota Twins
- 1997: MLB Los Angeles Dodgers
CHIP HALE CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
- 1986 NCAA National Champion with Arizona
- 2006 Pacific Coast League Coach of the Year
- 2019 World Series Champion with Washington Nationals