AUBURN - Former All-American and seven-year major leaguer Gabe Gross has agreed to join John Pawlowski's Auburn baseball coaching staff, knowledgeable sources told AuburnUndercover.com.
Gabe Gross with the Tampa Bay Rays
Gross will fill the "volunteer" slot on the staff. He will be in charge of the Tigers' offense. Volunteer coaches are paid but cannot be paid with university funds.
The official announcement is expected eary next week.
Gross played his last major league season in 2010 with the Oakland A's. He played in the 2008 World Series with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2011, he returned to Auburn to get his degree and was a student assistant last season. He earned his degree in business management in August.
In 1998, Gross signed a football scholarship with Auburn out of Northview High School in Dothan and became the starting quarterback as a true freshman. In 1999, he decided to concentrate on baseball and became one of the Tigers' all-time greats.
A three-year starter, Gross had a .375 career batting average. As a sophomore outfielder in 2000, he hit .430 and was a first-team All-American. He remains in the school's top 10 for career doubles (68, 2nd), extra-base hits (108, 3rd), walks (145, 3rd), RBIs (218, 4th), total bases (442, 5th), home runs (35, 8th) and hits (259, 9th).
Gross, chosen in the first round of the 2001 major league draft, played with four different teams. He had a career batting average of .239 with 78 doubles, eight triples, 40 home runs and 186 RBIs.
Gross always knew that, when his playing career was over, he would get an Auburn degree.
Auburn has been central in Gross' life from the time he was born. HIs father, Lee, was an All-Southeastern Conference Auburn center who played in the NFL. HIs given name is Gabriel Jordan Gross, his middle name in honor of Shug Jordan, his father's coach.
"It's really special," Gross said last year. "That's another reason I wanted the degree from Auburn on the wall. Auburn is a big part of so much of the development of who I am as a man."
Gross and his wife, Kelly, have two children - Allie and Jake.