Crew may add Counsell mentor Murphy as coach
KANSAS CITY -- After trying in vain to add him to their staff in May, the Brewers are poised to hire former Padres interim manager Pat Murphy as their bench coach, according to multiple reports on Monday.
The move was widely expected, though Brewers general manager David Stearns said he could not comment on prospective hires. It's possible that the Brewers are waiting to announce their rebuilt coaching staff at the conclusion of the World Series.
Murphy was Brewers manager Craig Counsell's college coach at Notre Dame, and the two have remained so close that when Counsell took over the job on May 3, the Brewers asked permission of the Padres to hire Murphy, who was managing San Diego's Triple-A affiliate.
The Padres declined, because they already had plans to elevate Murphy to interim manager at the Major League level after dismissing Bud Black on June 16. Counsell and Murphy squared off in August at Miller Park and in September at Petco Park, with the Brewers winning five of the seven games.
Murphy was not asked to return to the Padres in 2016 after the team went 42-54 on his watch.
"When you go to college, you're growing up, you're learning about baseball, about life," Counsell said. "It's an impressionable time in your life, and I learned a lot from him. More than anything, I think he was a person who made me mentally tough, because he challenges you a lot."
Murphy was less diplomatic.
"I was awful to him," Murphy said "I was very, very hard on him. I thought he would never speak to me again, to be honest with you. I was a young coach. I was 27 years old myself, and though we won a lot of games, I wasn't always appropriate. I wasn't always the best leader. He had every right to leave school if he wanted to. I think his dad being a Notre Dame guy, he wouldn't let him.
"[Counsell] kept getting better and better. When we were done with practice at night and you walk out, and you hear someone hitting in the cage, you didn't have to look who it was. It was Counsell."
Counsell played four seasons at Notre Dame under Murphy from 1989-92, batting .339 as a senior for a team that was one win from reaching the College World Series. After the Rockies drafted Counsell in the 11th round of the '92 Draft, Murphy placed a call and helped Counsell get an extra $1,000 -- boosting his bonus to $5,000.
After the season, the Brewers dismissed their entire coaching staff except for hitting coach Darnell Coles and third-base coach Ed Sedar. They've already hired a new pitching coach, according to reports, in Cubs Minor League pitching coordinator Derek Johnson. A source confirmed last week that Johnson was leaving the Cubs for the Brewers, though the Brewers did not make any announcement.