The University of Akron department of athletics announced Tuesday that former major leaguer Chris Sabo will assume the reins of the resuscitated baseball program beginning with the 2019 season.

Sabo, the 1988 National League Rookie of the Year, joins the Zips' program from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he was the coach for the varsity team.

Sabo, 56, a Detroit native, brings more than three decades of experience to the job. In addition to winning rookie of the year honors, he was a three-time National League All-Star (1988, 1990 and 1991) and he won a World Series title with the 1990 Cincinnati Reds. He played 10 seasons in the majors before calling it quits in 1996.

“We are excited to welcome Chris Sabo to the University of Akron,” Athletics Director Larry Williams said in a news release. “His illustrious playing career demonstrates his mastery of the fine details of the game. He also has extraordinary leadership skills and the proven ability to teach, coach, and motivate young athletes. His work ethic, drive, and commitment to excellence made him the perfect fit to lead the Zips’ baseball program.”

Before his professional career, Sabo played college baseball at Michigan and, after his pro days ended, he spent time in the Reds' organization as a coach and worked with hitters at Xavier, Michigan and University of Cincinnati programs.

Former UA President Scott Scarborough's administration made the dramatic decision to cut the baseball program in the summer of 2015 as a cost-cutting move. Former UA President Matt Wilson’s administration announced in the fall of 2017 that the program would return for the academic year 2019-20.

Terms of Sabo's contract were not announced.

 

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByGeorgeThomas.