By Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires
It’s been nearly a week now since Arizona State announced Pat Murphy’s resignation as head baseball coach, and it’s been strangly quiet since then. The NCAA‘s official web site has a section called “The Record” that is devoted to things like coaching hirings, firings and resignations and there has been no mention there of either Murphy or Arizona State in the last six days. However, no fewer than eleven other coaching transactions, including East Carolina baseball coach Billy Godwin’s contract extension have been mentioned there since November 20th. ASU has also still not announced who will be the interim head coach there.
Nothing has been confirmed, but the two most prevalent theories are that Murphy’s resignation either had to do with possible NCAA infractions, a dispute over a contract extension with ASU Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love or some combination of the two.
In the time since his resignation I have talked to several people who know Murphy, and while most of them were “shocked” to hear of his depature, most of them were not shocked at the idea that Murphy might have left ASU in a huff after a disagreement with his AD.
Tim Prister played baseball at Notre Dame in the 1980s. He currently writes for Irishillustrated.com, and he covered Murphy when Murphy was the head coach of the Irish. When I asked Prister this week if he would be surprised at such a scenario Prister said with a wry grin “I would not be surprised at all if that were the case.”
Brian Cleary counts himself among Murphy’s supporters. The current Cincinnati Bearcats head coach was a Murphy assistant in 1993 & 1994 in South Bend. Cleary credits his mentor for “kick-starting” his coaching career and said that Murphy has been good for the game “There probably isn’t a more colorful personality on the national stage. He’s passionate about college baseball and about coaching and about what we all do as coaches. He is willing to speak on behalf of the sport”, he said.
Cleary also added “Certainly I think his personality adds to whatever event it is. Be it a three game Pac-10 series or Omaha. One of the things I think Murph brings is the willingness to speak his mind and speak on behalf of college
baseball. I think the head coach at ASU is different than the head coach at a lot of places, because that program in relation to football and basketball is probably a lot different than it is at a lot of schools. I think he was really a great ambassador for college baseball during his time there.”
Certainly Murphy’s departure at one of the premiere programs in college baseball (and possible return…somewhere) will have a ripple effect throughout the coaching ranks, whether it’s this year or next.
Here’s a “By The Numbers” look at Murphy’s career:
10…wins in his first season (1983) as a college head coach at Maryville (Tenn)
51…wins in his 25th season (2009) as a head coach at ASU
49…consecutive 30 win seasons by ASU baseball teams
2…head baseball coaches (Bobby Winkles and Jim Brock) in Sun Devil history prior to Murphy’s arrival in Tempe
17…NCAA Tournament appearances in 22 seasons as a Division I coach
12…NCAA Tournament appearances in 15 seasons at ASU
18…years between NCAA Tournament appearances for Notre Dame before earning a berth in 1989, Murphy’s second season at the Fighting Irish helm
4…College World Series appearances by ASU in the last 15 seasons
113…combined home wins by the Sun Devils over the last three seasons
12…ASU home losses in that span
441…wins since 2000 by ASU, the most by any Pac 10 team in that stretch
7…ASU players named Pac 10 Player of the Year in the last 15 seasons
506…games Arizona State played without being shutout between April 7, 1995 and February 15, 2004-an NCAA record
9.4…runs-a-game the Sun Devils scored in that 9-year stretch
119…Arizona State players taken in the MLB draft during the Murphy era-the most of any school
1…of those players tabbed a big league MVP-Boston Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia-2008 AL MVP
914…games played in Murphy’s 15 seasons at ASU
914…home runs hit by the Sun Devils in those 15 seasons
8,084…runs scored in those games-an average of 8.8 runs-a-game