Packard Stadium 1974-2014

Pat Murphy wasn’t quite 16 years old when Packard Stadium opened on April 7th, 1974.

20 years later, Murphy was a first-year head coach of the Sun Devil baseball team.

Now, 20 years after that, Murphy was among the many helping say goodbye to what he has called “hallowed ground.”

The Sun Devils will play their final ever home game at Packard Stadium on Tuesday, May 20th. In February, they brought back their former Coach to kick off a season long farewell to the Stadium that spawned many decorated Major League careers.

It was Murphy’s first time back in the stadium since a messy separation from the Athletic Department in 2009.

“The game itself – watching the game looked familiar,” said Murphy.

“It was nice to be on the outside looking in, trying to gain a perspective. Felt like I wasn’t gone at all. Never believed in my wildest dreams I’d feel that way — I put a lot of blood sweat and tears into that place and it did a lot for me (in 2006 Murphy donated $100,000 back to the school for facility improvements) — five years later, the bitterness, the anger — all that washes away and you start thinking about only the things that were great.”

At Arizona State Murphy won Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times and went to the College World Series four times.

“We left a on a high note — the type of players we were bringing and the success we had — it was really special.”

Murphy was impressed by the gesture from the school.

“It speaks volumes; if Notre Dame brings me back (the Irish named their locker room after Murphy in 2011) and ASU brings me back, welcomes me back after what people perceive of what the program did wrong, I think it’s pretty indicative I’m not the worst guy in the world,” said Murphy.

“I thought it was an uncommon gesture five years after that. Galvanizing the tradition is important.”

Many of Murphy’s former standout players were at the ceremony, including Craig Counsell, Andre Ethier, Willie Bloomquist and Eric Sogard.

“Those guys I see a lot; it was the guys I hadn’t seen in the longest time — Aaron Klusman, Bryce Kartler, Richie Leon, Cesar Castillo, Jered Liebeck; it was really a pleasure to see them and countless others.”

Despite the nostalgia for Packard Stadium, Murphy agrees the time is right to move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium, longtime Cactus League home of the Oakland A’s.

“It’s going to be good for the program, good for the fan bases and for the students,” said Murphy.

“I’ll miss Packard and it doesn’t seem right it’s not gonna be there— that being said, this was the right move. Phoenix Muni can be built up to be a really first class college baseball facility but it needs work.”

One Response to “Packard Stadium 1974-2014”

  1. Chris Phelps says:

    Congrats murph, you are an amazing coach and most of all a good person. Good luck in the future and best wishes. I tried to tell digger that looks like him on your website and he doesn’t believe me. Once again good luck and thanks for helping my family out in the time of need with faith and prayer. Good luck Murph.

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