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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Chip Hale is back where it all started: Tucson, Arizona

Screenshot+of+Arizona+baseball+head+coach+Chip+Hale+%28left%29+and+Arizona+athletic+director+Dave+Heeke+%28right%29+during+Hales+introductory+press+conference+at+Hi+Corbett+Field+on+July+7%2C+2021.
Screenshot of Arizona baseball head coach Chip Hale (left) and Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke (right) during Hale’s introductory press conference at Hi Corbett Field on July 7, 2021.

In early July of 2021, the Vice President and Director of Arizona Athletics, Dave Heeke, officially introduced former Wildcat, Chip Hale, as the new head coach of the baseball team. 

Hale has almost 20 years of coaching experience. He got his start coaching professional baseball with the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders in the early 2000s. In the MLB, Hale began with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 but went to the  New York Mets three years later. After a year in New York, he coached the Oakland Athletics under legendary general manager, Billy Beane. He then went back to the Diamondbacks for a year before going to Washington where he won a world series with the Nationals in 2019. Last season, he coached third base for the Detroit Tigers before deciding to come home to his alma mater. 

Hale isn’t just a solid coach. He was also a solid player. For the Wildcats, Hale is the all-time leader in games played as well as the leader in total bases. The new Wildcats coach also helped bring a National Championship to Tucson in 1986 and won multiple awards such as 1987 Pac-10 South Player of the Year honors, First Team All-Pac-10 South recognition and the 1987 Tom Hansen Medal. These admirable accomplishments placed him in the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. 

Hale had this to say when he was announced as the new head coach.

 ”I am very honored and excited to be the new head baseball coach at the University of Arizona. 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,” Hale said. “With the help and support of the University of Arizona and the Wildcat Family, we plan on making many trips to Omaha!”

RELATED: 2022 Arizona baseball preview: Six storylines to watch

After his tremendous collegiate career, Hale was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 MLB draft. Hale played six seasons with the Twins before finishing his career with the Dodgers in 1997. He only had 575 at-bats in the MLB but he was no slouch hitting .277 lifetime as a reliable pinch hitter and infielder. 

Hale’s best year was 1993, when he had 213 plate appearances with a very high batting average of .333 and an on-base percentage just over .400. Hale played a big role with the Twins, playing in over 65 games a year between 1993-1996 hitting over .260 in all four years. 

Hale will make his Wildcats coaching debut on Friday, Feb. 18, against Kansas State at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown. 


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