TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The University of Arizona introduced new head baseball coach Chip Hale on Wednesday during a news conference at Hi Corbett Field.
The former Wildcat standout, major league player and big league manager takes over for Jay Johnson who left for LSU.
Hale calls this a destination job.
He will earn $500,000 in the first year of a 5-year contract.
But it is more than just a job to a man who is a life-long Wildcat.
During a one-on-one interview with KGUN9, Hale discussed the emotions of returning to his alma mater to coach.
Pat: "Chip let's start with the emotion you felt when you came in. It had to be surreal?"
Chip: "It was very surreal. I think that it would have been more if we were at Sancet (Stadium) where I walked in with coach (Jerry) Kindall. But I was lucky. Unfortunately I was looking right at coach Stitt. So there's a lot of emotion the whole time. It just felt good, it felt right."
Pat: "What did it feel like to put the uniform on for the first time in a long time?"
Chip: "It felt great. It felt fantastic. People don't know, but in pro ball they know this because they talk to me about it a lot. They knew this was always kind of a destination place for me and I would have loved to always come back."
Pat: "Talk about that process because you're the one that reached out right?"
Chip: "Yeah I reached out to Dave (Heeke) and let him know that I was interested. But I did tell him I know this is difficult decision for you and who you're going to talk to. I would just like to be in the process. But I'll support, I'm a Wildcat, and I'll support whatever you do."
Pat: "What do you think Jerry Kindall would be thinking about right now? I'm sure he's very proud."
Chip: "I know he's proud. I think he would tell me this is going to be a lot of work. You have to get the best people around you. Which he was good at. But he would tell me you're going to do a great job."
As a player, Chip Hale played for then head coach Jerry Kindall, helping the Wildcats to the 1986 College World Series title.