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Arizona hires ex-Wildcats star Chip Hale as baseball coach

July 5, 2021 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Chip Hale, a star infielder at Arizona from 1984-87 before playing, coaching and managing in the major leagues, has been hired as the Wildcats’ new baseball coach.

Arizona Director of Athletics Dave Heeke announced the hiring Monday.

Hale, 56, will receive a five-year contract pending approval from the state Board of Regents.

He will be officially introduced as the 17th head coach in Arizona’s baseball history at a news conference Wednesday.

Hale succeeds Jay Johnson who was named LSU’s new coach last month after six seasons with Arizona and two trips to the College World Series.

Hale was a member of the Wildcats’ 1986 national championship team and still holds school records for games played, hits, walks, at-bats and total bases.

A 17th-round draft pick of Minnesota in 1987, Hale played seven years in the majors for the Twins in Los Angeles Dodgers.

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He was the manager of the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders from 2005-06 — winning the Pacific Coast League title in his final season — and managed the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2015-16.

Hale was a bench coach for Washington when the Nationals won the World Series in 2019. He also has coached for the Oakland A’s, New York Mets and Detroit Tigers.

Detroit opened a three-game series Monday night in Texas and Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said he asked Hale to coach third base one last game that night before moving on to Arizona.

“They’re getting a winner,” Hinch said about Hale returning to his alma mater. “You know, he’s won at every level. I had him when I was a farm director in Arizona, he was a minor league manager on the rise, got to the big leagues, helped us win in Arizona, made the playoffs, is a World Series champion as a coach in Washington, had some successful Mets teams when he coached there. He’s a winner and he will be prepared.

“He will work with the kids and develop a great identity for that university. He’s got great passion for that place,” Hinch added. “He talks about it as much as he talks about his major league career as a coach and a player. So they’re getting a baseball guy with a ton of passion for the community there as a guy who lives there and lives and breathes University of Arizona.”