Detroit Tigers third-base coach Chip Hale is returning to the University of Arizona to become the school’s new baseball coach.
Hale, an infielder for Arizona from 1984 to ’87, is the school’s all-time leader in games played (255), hits (337) and total bases (507) and was a member of the 1986 squad that won the College World Series. The school said he will receive a five-year contract, pending approval by the board of regents.
“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!”
Hale, 56, replaces Jay Johnson, who left Arizona to become LSU’s new baseball coach last month. Johnson guided Arizona to two College World Series appearances in his six seasons in Tucson, including a trip this season where the Wildcats lost to Vanderbilt and Stanford.
“I am thrilled and excited to have Chip lead our iconic baseball program,” athletic director Dave Heeke said in the 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.”
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch told reporters that Hale will leave the team after Monday night’s game against the Texas Rangers. Bench coach George Lombard will handle the third base coaching duties through the All-Star break.
Hale managed the Arizona Diamondbacks for two seasons (2015-16) and went 148-176. He was the 2006 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year when he led Tucson in the Diamondbacks’ farm system to a 91-53 record.
He was in his first season as the Tigers’ third-base coach after serving as the Washington Nationals‘ bench coach from 2018 to ’20. He also has been on the coaching staffs of the Oakland Athletics, New York Mets and the Diamondbacks.
He was selected in the 17th round of the 1987 draft by the Minnesota Twins and went on to play seven major league seasons, finishing with a .277 average in 333 games.