These days it doesn’t appear that much has changed for Pat Murphy. He still goes to work and puts on a baseball uniform. His journey from head coach at Arizona State University to bench coach with the Milwaukee Brewers has been a story of reinvention.
“I can’t say it’s been without trepidation,” said Murphy on a recent trip to Chase Field with the Brewers. “The whole situation was very difficult. Looking back, it’s something that helps you grow. I had to go back to the minor leagues and start over again. I’m still learning… and proud to be part of it all.”
Murphy lead ASU to four College World Series appearances but was forced to resign or be fired in 2009. He was being investigated by the NCAA for seven violations, including “lack of institutional control.” Murphy was eventually reprimanded by the NCAA, but not for any infractions. He was cleared of wrongdoing but cited for treating investigators with a “cavalier” attitude.
“I loved my 15 years at ASU,” said Murphy. “So many times in life, things happen. It doesn’t help to go back and talk about who’s to blame. We all had a hand in it... I’m thankful for every bit of it and bitter at no one.”
After leaving ASU, Murphy was hired by the Padres and managed their rookie ball affiliate in Eugene, Oregon. He made the jump to Triple A in 2013, managing in Tucson and El Paso, Texas. Murphy took over as interim manager when the Padres fired Bud Black in June of 2015. He finished out the season and then was hired by the Brewers to the bench coach. Murphy reunited with former D-backs player and current Brewers Manager Craig Counsell, who played for Murphy at Notre Dame. The former ASU coach still keeps an eye on what’s happening with the Sun Devils. He’s even struck up a relationship with current ASU Head Coach Tracy Smith.
“They’re an inch from being really good,” says Murphy. “I like him. I think he’s got a good message for players. I think he cares about student athletes. I think he knows baseball. I think ASU will be better and better every year.”
Smith has been under fire after dismissing several players and the Sun Devils posted their worst season in 55 years. Murphy and the Brewers have been one of the surprises of the MLB season, leading the NL Central heading into play on Tuesday night.
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