Family and Friends

Kai Murphy

I just like people to know that I’m a father first. It’s the most important job in my life as far as I’m concerned and I feel like I’m true and real. I’m so lucky to have him around the program. For years it was just he and I as a family and it’s just something that is a great blessing and that I’m so grateful for.*

Video: Kai at the 2005 College World Series

Keli Murphy

Keli Murphy is my beautiful 24-year old-daughter.  Grew up in Morristown, TN – about 35 miles outside of Knoxville.  Her mother did a great job raising her day-to-day.  I got to be in her life in a more permanent basis when she got out here and lived with me for three years.  She did one year at Tennessee then transferred out here to ASU and got her degree and did some post graduate work so she could get into med school or PT school.  She was a huge help to me, helped me raise Kai … what an exciting time for me to be around her.

She’s most the precious woman in my life – I couldn’t be more proud of her, how she lives her life, how she treats people.  She’s engaged to be married to Pedro Alvarez, a young man from Washington Heights New York… he’s baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization who will be in the Big Leagues.  They’re in love.  He’s a wonderful young man.  I couldn’t be happier for her.

She’s a great big sister to Kai.  He acts like he doesn’t love her or that she’s not important in his life but he’s crazy about her.    They fight like they’re one year apart in age… even though they’re 15 years apart in age.  It’s a wonderful thing.


Dustin Pedroia, 2008 American League MVP

This game is hard to play, period. If you’re not gifted with unbelievable physical skills, it’s even harder. He’s been able to overcome all odds. Every young kid in America should go, ‘Wow, that’s a sport I can play if I have my insides churning the way a kid like he does.**

Video: Murph & Pedro (from FOX Sports Arizona, spring 2004)


Muhammad Ali

He’s meant a lot in my life. Just what he represented. He did a lot making the relationship between the media and the guy important. He did a lot for a lot of young Black people who wanted to get ahead in sports and have a voice. He represented to me a guy who was not afraid to go for it and go for it big.***

On November 7, 2009, The Champ headlined Coach Murphy’s charity Home Run Derby benefiting Crossroads.

Video: The Champ (2004)


Craig Counsell

Craig played for me at Notre Dame for four years – he was a kid who came out of nowhere, always willing and understood the game — but he was so physically small and undersized it was hard to see him going on to have this kind of career… but by his junior or season year you could see it clearly.    I think I was quoted in the paper saying, “He’ll be the next big leaguer from Notre Dame.”  Most of the time when I was quoted back then  I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about but with him, I really believed he would.

We’ve stayed in touch.  I was very hard on him.  I was almost inappropriately hard on him and he appreciated it later on.

His big league career has been unbelievably fun to track.  His wife Michelle, they have 4 beautiful children, they’ve been over here playing in my backyard from the beginning.

He’s the biggest supporter of Sandlot … he’s financially supported Sandlot for a long time and that’s just who he is.  He’s a remarkable person, husband, father and remarkable friend.  I’ve privileged to say that I was a little bit a part of his career.


John Flanagan

John Flanagan is the epitome of loyalty and friendship.  He’s the guy – anytime day or night, no matter what the circumstances, he’ll be there for you.  He was part of that whole time at Notre Dame with Couns – he was a Junior when I got there.  He finished in his career in 88 – 89.  I immediately took him on the coaching staff.

Oddly enough, we built a friendship because he’s a crazy Sprignsteen lover… it strengthened our bond but we’ve always kept in touch and I’ve always had a special place for him.

Right now he’s kind of my right-hand man – he came down here to get back into coaching after an absence.  He ran a really successful Baseball Academy in Chicago with Ron Coomer called CF Swingtown that anybody in that area would remember. He also ran baseball showcases for prospects and wanted to live in that area with his family.

We’re like brothers, always there for each other through thick & thin.  He’s like family to me and always will be.  He’s also an unbelievable father and husband.

* Source: Yahoo! Sports

**Source: azcentral.com

***Source: azcentral.com

John Flanagan is the epitome of a true friend, loyalty and friendship. He’s the guy – anytime day or night, no matter what the circumstances, he’ll be there for you. He was part of that whole time at Notre Dame with Couns – he was a junior when I got there. He finished in his career in 88 – 89. I immediately took him on the coaching staff.

Oddly enough, we built a friendship because he’s a crazy Sprignsteen lover… it strengthened our bond but we’ve always kept in touch and I’ve always had a special place for him.

We’re like brothers, always there for each other through thick & thin. He’s like family to me and always will be. He’s also an unbelievable father and husband.

You think about the few people in your life that are such close people – most people are lucky if they can count ‘em on one hand. I’m lucky.

Right now he’s kind of my right-hand man – he came down here to get back into coaching after an absence. He ran a really successful Baseball Academy in Chicago with Ron Coomer called C.F. Swingtown that anybody in that area would remember. He also ran baseball showcases for prospects and wanted to live in that area with his family.

Well now he wants to get back into coaching, learn the ropes again — just a great friend.