Western Illinois has hired Central Michigan assistant coach Mike Villano as its new head coach, replacing the late Stan Hyman, who died of leukemia in September. Villano spent the past six seasons as the recruiting coordinator for the Chippewas, developing a reputation as one of the top up-and-coming assistants in the Midwest. He spent five seasons as pitching coach and served as hitting coach in 2009.
"This is a bittersweet announcement in that we will always remember Stan Hyman as a great person and a great baseball coach," Western Illinois director of athletics Dr. Tim M. Van Alstine said in a release. "However, I am pleased to announced that Mike Villano will continue in Stan’s footsteps as the new Leatherneck baseball coach. Mike has an impressive and extensive background that spans from his time as a student-athlete to his professional playing career and his time as a coach."
Nearly 24 hours after Pat Murphy’s abrupt resignation was announced, we know little about the circumstances that led to it. Murphy has yet to break his silence publicly, leaving Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love’s cryptic remarks to the Arizona Republic as the only clues to his mysterious departure.
Meanwhile, the Republic’s ASU beat writer, Jeff Metcalfe, reflected on Murphy’s 15-year tenure in Tempe, concluding that the larger-than-life coach will be missed. East Valley Tribune columnist Scott Bordow echoed those sentiments. Both Metcalfe and Bordow capture Murphy’s essence—by turns he’s an entertainer, a court jester, a hothead. He has battled his demons, but he has an incredibly generous, loyal nature as well. Love him or hate him, you have to hand it to Murphy: He is interesting. Unquestionably, he is the most interesting, outsized personality in college baseball. The sport needs him, and I look forward to his re-emergence elsewhere in college baseball soon.
Reading Metcalfe’s and Bordow’s recollections of Murphy, I was reminded of John Manuel’s column about Murphy at the 2007 College World Series. That was a coach seemingly at peace with himself and his place at Arizona State. It was easy to imagine that Murphy coaching the Sun Devils for another 20 years, carving out his own legacy alongside those of coaching legends Bobby Winkles and Jim Brock. As it is, Murphy will be remembered and missed in Tempe—as much for his personality as for his on-field accomplishments.
UPDATED: Friday, 10 p.m. ET.
Pat Murphy, one of the most colorful, out-spoken and successful figures in college baseball, has resigned as head coach at Arizona State. The Sun Devils released this statement Friday afternoon:
Arizona State University baseball coach Pat Murphy announced his resignation today. An interim head coach will assume responsibility for the program until his replacement is selected.
“Coach Murphy has an outstanding record of success on the playing field,” said Lisa Love, university vice president for athletics. “I thank him for 16 years of hard work and service to the university and the sport.”
Pat Murphy became ASU’s head baseball coach in August 1994. During his tenure, he was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times, his teams took three straight Pac-10 titles and two World Series berths, and in 1998 he was named the National Coach of the Year.
Since the 2000 season, no other Pac-10 school has won as many games as ASU, both overall and conference games. Murphy has also had more players drafted by Major League Baseball since 1995 than any other coach in the nation.
ASU will immediately begin a national search for a new head baseball coach. [...] Continue Reading »
Next year, the California Collegiate League will expand from a five-team league to a seven-team league. The league voted to add two new teams—the San Luis Obispo Blues and another team that isn’t even based in California.
The second new team will be the Las Vegas Summer Baseball Club, a team that will be composed mostly of players from the Four Corners area that includes Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.
The team will be coached by Buck Thomas, a coach and part-time Angels scout from Las Vegas. Thomas started the Las Vegas Summer Baseball Club last year, and the team played independently, going 27-10.
Being on the team will provide players in the Four Corners the chance to get acclimated with the rigors of Division I or professional baseball—something Thomas felt wasn’t previously available in that area of the country.
"I just felt there were so many guys that were not getting the opportunity to prepare for the next level in Vegas, so I just went out and put that team together and put that schedule together," Thomas said. "It’s a great opportunity for those Four-Corners kids to get out. They get stuck playing (American) Legion and beating up on the same kids for four years, and then they go out to Arizona and (the University of San Diego) and whatnot and they’re not as prepared as they could be, so I think it’s a good thing."
[...] Continue Reading »
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