Pat Murphy is grateful the Milwaukee Brewers have given him the opportunity to manage again for the first time in nearly a decade.
It’s an opportunity he didn’t know he would ever get again.
“You realize how lucky you are to be part of something,” Murphy said Thursday at his introductory news conference. “What we have growing here was unbelievable. I never thought it would be here. These things happen, and all of a sudden I’m here.”
The Brewers made Murphy a major league manager for the first time since 2015 when they promoted the former bench coach to take over for Craig Counsell, who left to manage the Chicago Cubs.
Counsell, the winningest manager in Brewers history, had his introductory news conference with the Cubs on Monday. Milwaukee hired Murphy two days later while also naming former Brewers infielder Rickie Weeks the team’s associate manager.
Murphy had worked on Counsell’s Brewers staff as bench coach the last eight seasons, though their relationship started long before that. Murphy coached Notre Dame when Counsell was an infielder for the Fighting Irish from 1989-92.
Now they will be competing with each other as NL Central rivals.
“I’ve had a 37-year relationship with Craig, and it takes on many different dimensions,” Murphy said. “It’s now going to take on a different form of competing against.”
Murphy, who turns 65 on Nov. 28, takes over a team that went 92-70 and won the NL Central this year before getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in a Wild Card Series.
Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold said he cast a wide net while searching for Counsell’s replacement and emphasized the importance of continuity and culture.
Arnold’s search eventually zeroed in on Murphy.
“You think about the winning tradition, you talk about the culture — he’s been the glue and part of for so many years here, all the wins he’s been a part of across his entire career as one of the most successful coaches across every space he’s been a part of,” Arnold said.
Murphy’s only managerial experience in the majors came in 2015, when he went 42-54 as the San Diego Padres’ interim manager after the firing of Bud Black. When the Padres hired Andy Green as their full-time manager after the 2015 season, Murphy joined the Brewers.
Murphy does have three decades of experience leading teams at the college and minor-league levels.
Murphy posted a combined 947-400-2 coaching record at Notre Dame (1988-94) and Arizona State (1995-2009) and helped the Sun Devils reach the College World Series championship game in 1998. He has 1,000 total college wins, including his stints at Division III Maryville (Tennessee) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (California).
Murphy left Arizona State in the fall of 2009 amid an NCAA investigation and headed to the minors. He managed at the Single-A and Triple-A levels in the Padres organization from 2011-2015 and posted a combined record of 273-230.
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