June 5, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University head baseball coach Pat Murphy cited family, a commitment to the program he inherited seven years ago, and a burning desire to keep the Sun Devil baseball tradition among the elite in college baseball as the foundation for his reasons to turn down a job offer from the University of Hawai'i and remain the head coach at ASU.
Amidst rabid talk and speculation over the last few months, Murphy put off any decisions until the end of the 2001 season, where Monday night he put all speculation to rest when he politely turned down the job that was offered to him by the University of Hawai'i in early February.
"I am honored that the offer was made to me and I have the utmost respect for the college baseball program and the tradition that Les Murakami built over there in Hawai'i," said Murphy. "But I am a Sun Devil and I take a lot of pride in what this program has accomplished over the last seven years and what it will accomplish in the future."
Taking over the program in 1995, Murphy has been a marker for success during his seven years in Tempe. Amassing an impressive 269-143-1 (.653) career record at ASU after taking over a program with only two returning starters, Murphy has continuously assembled one of the most respected programs in the nation. Taking the Sun Devils to postseason play in four of the past five years, having his players graduate with academic distinction and making an evolving impact on the community are just a few of Murphy's trademarks.
"Pat Murphy is what is right about college athletics by developing young ballplayers into outstanding young men," said Arizona State Athletic Director Gene Smith. "He is a great coach, on and off the field, with the success he has shown over the years, especially taking into account the parity that has surfaced in college baseball. His players are some of our best community members and we are honored and excited to retain his outstanding leadership skills."
The 1998 Baseball America National Coach of the Year and 2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Murphy has averaged 42 wins per year in his 14 seasons as a Division I head coach. Taking Notre Dame from a virtual unknown in 1988, Murphy led the Irish to four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, building the Irish into a national power without the benefit of being fully funded. Murphy took over the Arizona State program in 1995 and has since carried on the tradition that was bestowed to him by ASU coach legends Bobby Winkles and Jim Brock.
Leading the Devils to the National Championship game in 1998, Murphy became the fastest Pac-10 coach to take a team to a national championship game after taking over a program. Winning an average of 38 games per season while at the helm of the Sun Devils, Murphy's teams have constantly been ranked in the national polls and is the leader of one of only six college baseball programs to be ranked in the top 12 in the national polls in three of the past four years (1997-2000).
Offensively, Murphy's squads led the nation in scoring in 1999 and 2000 and have been strong contenders each year for the NCAA batting crown. Hitting .327 as a team in 2001, Murphy's Devils led the Pac-10 in batting and finished tied for third place with a 14-10 league mark. Advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in his ASU career, the Sun Devils fell short of a 19th appearance in Omaha by being eliminated in the Cal State Fullerton Regional. ASU finished the year 37-20-1.
In addition to numerous other accolades, Murphy's squads have dominated the annual Pac-10 awards, taking home three straight Pac-10 Player of the Year honors. Academics and community service have also been a trademark of Murphy's programs. Five players have earned Academic All-American status under Murphy in the last three years, including Casey Myers earning back-to-back Academic All-American of the Year honors.
The Pat Murphy File
Arizona State baseball head coach Pat Murphy has continued the storied tradition of Sun Devil baseball. After taking a Notre Dame program from rags to riches and a perennial national power, Murphy arrived at ASU in 1995 and has since left his mark on collegiate baseball as one of the top coaches in the nation. The 1998 Baseball America Coach of the Year and 2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Murphy has won 65% of his games in Tempe (269-143-1). A mastermind and teacher on the field , Murphy has also turned ASU baseball into a academic powerhouse with seven Academic All-Americans in the last three years. Add to that the fact ASU has finished in the top 12 in the nation in three of the last four years and you have a Murphy led program that stands as one of the top programs in the nation.
The Murphy team? Always plays hard, likes to play the tough schedule, disciplined, plays well in the post season, plays the little game well- stolen bases, walks, no excuses. In addition to having a top 20 RPI in 2001, ASU will play 12 games vs. four teams that have qualified for the 2001 College World Series, in addition to two games at Notre Dame and a three-game series in Tallahassee, Fla., vs. Florida State.
Murphy's teams have averaged 9.32 runs per game during his seven years at ASU. The Sun Devils have led the nation in scoring in 1999 and 2000 and finished in the top two in batting average in 1999 and 2000. ASU led the Pac-10 in batting this year with a .327 average.
In addition to putting one of the best teams on the field in the nation every year, Coach Murphy has had five Academic All-Americans play under him in the last three years. Several players have also come back to Arizona State to finish their degrees after leaving ASU early for the MLB draft. Casey Myers was named the Academic All-American of the Year in 2000 and 2001 and was recently named a three-time selection to the District VIII All-Academic Team Myers. Seven current or former players earned their degrees this past May.
The Sun Devils have finished in the top 12 in the nation in three of the past four years (1997-2000) and are currently ranked in the top 25 in all three major polls after the first round of the NCAA playoffs.
Built the Notre Dame program, averaging 45+ wins over six straight seasons. Posted three straight Final 16 appearances while with the Fighting Irish (`92-'94) -a feat matched only by two other teams.
Twelve of the last 14 years, his teams have finished in the top 30. Murphy has led ASU now to postseason play in four of the past five years, and the only year he did not make it still had a .500 record in league play and recorded 39 wins overall.
Murphy has had three assistant coaches take Div. I head coaching jobs in the last two years (Doug Schrieber - Purdue, Nino Giarratano - San Francisco and John Pawlowski - College of Charleston), proving ASU is a hotbed for up and coming coaches.
In eight of Pat Murphy's nine regional appearances, Murphy's teams have been sent to play the No. 1 national seed. With the exception of this year at Cal State Fullerton, Murphy's squads have played up to the high level of play by beating the No. 1 seed on their field. Murphy is a combined 22-16 in NCAA Tournament play.
Olympic Leadership: In 1987, Holland, who had qualified for the Olympics, asked Pat Murphy to coach - he turned them down because of the Notre Dame job. Murphy did not pass up the opportunity to coach the Dutch Olympic team in 2000, leading the squad to a 3-4 record in Sydney, including a 4-2 win over previously Olympic unbeaten Cuba. The win over the Cubans was ranked as one of the top four upsets in Olympic team history.
Murphy vs. Arizona: the Wildcats have never beaten ASU in the season series nor finished higher in the final rankings under Pat Murphy's watch. Murphy is 25-14 vs. the `Cats during his tenure, including a 5-1 record and a series sweep at home in 2000 and a 2-1 record this year.
Pat Murphy in the Community: started the Guadalupe Project (teaches baseball and life skills to the children of the Guadalupe community), hosts free baseball clinics with the Tempe Diablos, took a group of children to Cooperstown to learn about the history of the game of baseball, hosted a 5K run this year along with the ALS Association to beat Lou Gehrig's Disease, came up with the Team One concept, speaker for UNI 100 classes at Arizona State, mentored troubled youth at Westbridge (youth detention center). Murphy's newest community involvement was a charity boxing match with Father Joe that raised close to $25,000 for his Guadalupe Project and other charities.
Murphy is the winningest active baseball coach under 43 with a 642-314-4 record in 17 seasons (record includes victories at all collegiate levels).
From 1995-2000, Murphy has had 50 players drafted (or sign free agent contracts) - the University of Arizona has had 21 players taken in the same amount of time.
Murphy was the first collegiate coach to have a bat contract with a bat manufacturer (Louisville Slugger in 1989)
Did You Know: Of the current Pac-10 coaches, ASU's Pat Murphy took a team to the national championship game in a shortest amount of time (four years). Only two Pac-10 coaches have ever done it faster (one of those is former Sun Devil skipper Jim Brock).
Sweeping the Pac-10 Awards: Since the Pac-10 combined the North and South Divisions in 1999, Arizona State has walked away with three consecutive Pac-10 Player of the Year awards. Willie Bloomquist earned the prestigious accolade in 1999, followed by back-to-back awards to Sun Devil All-American catcher Casey Myers.
Recruiting: More than a trademark of Murphy, the Sun Devil skipper continuously reaps one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. The freshman class that was tabbed as possibly the best freshman class in ASU history came in ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation by Baseball America. The 2002 class that will arrive in Tempe in the fall is also tabbed highly by several baseball publications.
--Sun Devil Baseball--
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations