Chip Hale hinted that changes were coming, and one big one already has.
Associate head coach/pitching coach Dave Lawn announced Monday he was leaving the program that he’d been with since 2015, first with Jay Johnson and then the last two years with Hale.
8 great years! 5 regionals, 2 Supers, 2 CWS, 1 P12 Championship…thanks to Greg Byrne/Jay Johnson for bringing me here and Dave Heeke/Chip Hale for keeping me here…thanks to all the staff/players for their support and effort. #BearDown CL— Dave Lawn (@UADaveLawn) June 5, 2023
Lawn was hired by the UA in 2015, brought over by Johnson from Nevada to be Arizona’s pitching coach. He handled that role through the 2019 season before getting reassigned to defensive coordinator for 2020-21. When Johnson took the LSU head coaching job in 2021, Lawn was retained by Hale after he was hired a month later and went back to being the Wildcats’ pitching coach.
Arizona struggled mightily on the mound this season, recording a 5.97 ERA that was its worst since 2019 while allowing the most hits since 1996.
“We’ll re-evaluate our coaching,” Hale said after Saturday’s loss to Santa Clara, which eliminated Arizona from the NCAA Tournament. “That’s my job. I’m the leader of the staff and I have to decide and make tough decisions, but we have to get better in all areas.”
Fourteen pitchers have been drafted from the UA during Lawn’s tenure, with four making the majors. The most recent of those are right-hander Chase Silseth, who was on the 2021 College World Series team, and lefty Andrew Nardi.
Hale is likely to tap into his vast array of baseball connections, both at the college and pro level, to find his next pitching coach. Among those he may consider are a few that are already linked to Arizona, like Grand Canyon pitching coach Nathan Bannister, who was on the 2016 CWS team, or Mathew Troupe, who pitched for the Wildcats from 2012-15 (and was the closer on the 2012 national title team) and spent the last two years as Hawaii’s pitching coach before announcing his departure last week.
Also on Hale’s potential short list: Pima College head coach Ken Jacome, who has run the Aztecs’ program the last few seasons and from where Hale has gotten several players in his last two recruiting classes including weekend starters Aiden May and Braden Zastrow.