Murphy resigns at Arizona State

Updated: November 21, 2009, 12:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Pat Murphy abruptly resigned after 15 seasons as baseball coach at Arizona State on Friday.

University vice president for athletics Lisa Love said she accepted the resignation to allow Murphy and the program to move in a "new direction," the Arizona Republic reported.

According to the report, Love said Murphy's resignation was not directly related to an ongoing two-year school investigation into allegations made against him by a former baseball employee, including claims of academic fraud and improper recruiting travel.

[+] EnlargePat Murphy
Darryl Dennis/Icon SMIPat Murphy led Arizona State to the College World Series three times in the last five years.

"It's been a long, hard couple of years and an arduous process," Love said, according to the report. "Pat is where he is, and we're where we are. It's an amicable parting dictated by Pat."

The colorful and often outspoken Murphy led the Sun Devils to the College World Series four times -- 1998, 2005, 2007 and 2009. The program has produced several major league players, including Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, who appeared along with Muhammad Ali at a recent Murphy fundraiser.

He took over the historically successful Sun Devils program in August 1994 after seven seasons at Notre Dame. Under Murphy, Arizona State was 629-284-1.

"Coach Murphy has an outstanding record of success on the playing field," Love said in a prepared statement. "I thank him for 16 years of hard work and service to the university and the sport."

The Sun Devils had won the past three Pac-10 titles, with Murphy named conference coach of the year each time. Murphy, 50, had offered no hint publicly of his impending resignation in recent interviews.

Arizona State hired a legal firm to investigate allegations made against Murphy, including those of academic fraud, improper recruiting travel, improper use of the nearby Athletes' Performance training facility and violations relating to players working for a non-profit headed by Murphy.

The findings of that probe have been forwarded to the Pac-10 Conference and the NCAA, the Republic reported.

The newspaper reported that Murphy, who could not be reached for comment, has insisted that any violations were at the most secondary NCAA infractions, were inadvertent or caused by faulty record-keeping and did not create a competitive advantage.

Murphy had sought a contract extension after taking the Sun Devils to their third College World Series in five years last season, but Love declined to negotiate until the NCAA's review of the probe was completed, the newspaper reported.

The move creates a vacancy in one of the most attractive jobs in college baseball. The university said an interim coach would be named, and a national search for a permanent replacement would begin immediately.

Murphy was just the third coach in Arizona State's modern baseball history, following Jim Brock and Bobby Winkles.

The Associated Press also reported Murphy could not be reached for comment, and that the university said his cell phone was broken.

His overall record at Maryville, Tenn., Claremonte-Mudd Scripps, Notre Dame and Arizona State is 1,000-457-4. Murphy's final Arizona State team finished 51-14.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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