Tigers third base coach Chip Hale is leaving his position to accept a job as head coach at the University of Arizona, per an announcement from the school’s baseball department. Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star tweeted this morning that there were “strong indications” Hale would be the program’s new head coach.
This, rather remarkably, is the second time in the past month that the Tigers have lost a member of their Major League staff to a college program. Assistant hitting coach Jose Cruz Jr. accepted a job as the head coach at Rice University back on June 9.
Both Hale and Cruz were in their first season as members of AJ Hinch’s coaching staff in Detroit. Hinch, of course, is also in his first year as Tigers skipper after serving his suspension on the heels of the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal. Prior to taking his now-former post with the Tigers, Hale was the bench coach for the 2019 World Series champion Nationals. He also spent two years as the D-backs’ manager and has served as a bench coach and/or third base coach with the D-backs, Mets and Athletics.
Hale, 56, played his college ball at Arizona and was a 17th-round selection of the Twins back in the 1987 draft. He spent parts of seven seasons in the Majors (six with Minnesota, one with the Dodgers), serving as a utility infielder and batting .277/.346/.363 in 333 MLB games.
“I am very honored and excited to be the new head baseball coach at the University of Arizona,” Hale said in a statement released by the Wildcats. “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!”
The Tigers have yet to announce who will be taking over as their new third base coach in the wake of Hale’s departure.