Alabama is back in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time. Thing is, the man who turned the Crimson Tide into a softball power almost wasn't with the team this time around.
Patrick Murphy left Alabama to be the coach at LSU shortly after last year's WCWS — but 48 hours later, he decided to go back to 'Bama.
This time last year, you went from WCWS to introductory press conference at LSU to return to Alabama. What was that week like?
It was a whirlwind. Upside down. Topsy turvy. Any way you want to call it. Just one of those weeks that I could definitely write a book about. We literally got off the plane in Tuscaloosa (after leaving the WCWS) and I looked down and had a phone call from Baton Rouge. I thought, ‘This is (former LSU coach) Yvette Girouard calling me.' But it was the AD.
Coach Girouard was your mentor, your boss at Louisiana-Lafayette before she went to LSU. Was she the heartstring that pulled you to LSU?
She got me started. She's the reason I'm here. I give her all credit because without her I wouldn't have a job in college softball. I still have tons of people down there that I consider great friends, second families. Some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life.
Was the decision to go back to Alabama sort of like buyer's remorse?
I wish I would've gone down first. I accepted (the LSU job) on the phone. When we go there, we go to the hotel and we go play and we go back to the hotel and we go out to eat. I really didn't get to see anything other than the facility and the hotel. The people were great; it was just one of those things where you think about it 48 hours ... it was just unfortunately for everybody. I felt bad for all of them. I made a huge mistake.
When did you know, though, that going back to Alabama was absolutely the right move for you?
Probably on the plane ride home. I wish I could've taken it all back, but you can't do that. What's done is done. I'm very happy that (LSU is) here, though. Couldn't be happier.
Any thank you notes from the Tigers' coaching staff?
(Laughs.) No. But (LSU coach Beth Torina) is a good lady. I respect here as much as anybody in the softball world.
So, being back at the WCWS after all that happened, does it feel any different?
To me, it's all about the kids. That was the hardest part; I knew I was going to miss the six seniors. There's never a good time (to leave). Never.
There's always that next senior class that you're leaving, right?
Obviously, I don't know how people do it. The six seniors have been incredible for four years. This has been one of the most low-maintenance teams that we've ever had. That was my biggest wish, for them to come back here and get an opportunity here because they've been terrific. It's just been a great year.