Pat Murphy had a successful run as the head coach of the Arizona State University Baseball team, compiling a career record of 629-284-1 from 1995-2009.
Under his guidance, the Sun Devils won the Pac-10 in 2000, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and reached the College World Series four times.
But he was forced out in 2009 with the baseball program under investigation by the NCAA for rules infractions, with the program being punished by way of sanctions and a postseason ban for what happened during Murphy’s tenure.
Needless to say, things between Murphy and the school had not been particularly great since then, though it appears the relationship between the sides has improved.
According to ASU Senior Associate Athletic Director Rocky Harris, who was a guest of the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, the former coach will return to Tempe this season to be honored by the school during its last season at Packard Stadium before the move to Phoenix Municipal.
“We are bringing him back to be able to honor him at the game,” Harris said. “We’re recognizing all of our former coaches.
“We’re also going to honor him at Phoenix Muni. We’re going to put a sign up of each of our former coaches. That’s big. That’s big to our fans, it’s big to the players who played for him, and I think that it’s about time that we moved our baseball program forward and turn into ASU Baseball and not have any segmented groups between the coaches.”
Murphy is currently the manager of the San Diego Padres’ Triple-A affiliate, and his return is likely to win over the most people, including former players who were none-too-pleased with how the school handled the dismissal of their former coach.
“Those players care about ASU Baseball,” Harris said. “The entire ASU Baseball community wants it to be successful, and for us to sit there and not allow, not embrace a coach who put some much time and effort into building up the program doesn’t make any sense to us.
“When we talked to his former players, their connection is with him and with ASU overall.”
Harris added that there has been a bit of a divide amongst former players depending on who their coach was, and that’s something the school no longer wants to be the case.
Because in the end, they’re all Sun Devils.
“I think having Murphy back in the fold is going to help mend those fences,” Harris said. “So we’re excited about that and we’re excited about where our baseball program is going.”
Harris noted that honoring Murphy is just a part of all the school will be doing this season, including bringing former players back as well as unveiling a new logo to commemorate the school’s time at Packard Stadium.