Alabama softball: Patrick Murphy had games to coach, but made time for Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

BIRMINGHAM — A brief ceremony was about to start at noon, and Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy was waiting by a pillar a few steps away from the microphone.

Scott Myers, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame executive director, walked over.

“When do you need to leave?” Myers asked. 

At 1 p.m., Murphy told him. They discussed details of the weekend, which includes various meetings, meals and moments to honor Murphy and the other seven 2022 inductees. Friday at the media luncheon, they went over the schedule, with Murphy letting Myers know what he could and could not attend.

Such is the life of a hall of famer who’s still active. 

Murphy is the only one of the eight who is still adding to the hall-of-fame legacy. All others had hall-of-fame-worthy playing careers, but none has to go take part in a game this weekend. Murphy had three to coach: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as Alabama hosted Missouri to close out the regular season.

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The Waterloo, Iowa, native has been at Alabama since 1996, serving as head coach since 1999. In that time, Murphy has brought the Crimson Tide to 13 Women’s College World Series appearances, winning it all in 2012. He’s a five-time SEC coach of the year, has won six SEC regular-season titles and five conference tournaments and has made the NCAA Tournament every year of his coaching tenure.

And he’s not done yet.

While many at the banquet Saturday night tell stories of the glory days, Murphy could tell stories from the game a couple hours before.

“It would really, really help if we won tonight and won tomorrow and I could breathe a little,” Murphy told The Tuscaloosa News on Friday. “Either way, it’s just going to be a great night.”

While others can maybe kick back and enjoy the weekend, Murphy has a tight schedule to keep.

He started Friday with an early-morning haircut. Normally, he works out at 6:15 a.m., his main source to release stress. But he didn’t even have time for that Friday.

Then he picked up a tux at 9 a.m. for the dinner Saturday before driving to Birmingham for the media luncheon. After leaving at about 1 p.m., his plan was to go to the clubhouse, where he would settle on a starting lineup, sitting at a table for about 45 minutes to make those decisions with the help of stats and input from assistants.

Alabama softball head coach Patrick Murphy

He will have the lineup settled by about 4 p.m. Before the game, he will also greet the team, have a pre-game meeting and then batting practice. The game against Missouri starts at 6 p.m.

“And then basically do all the game stuff again tomorrow morning,” Murphy said.

Alabama has a Saturday game against Missouri at 12:30 p.m. Afterward, Murphy will return to Birmingham for the banquet. His team will be there supporting him.

“I think it’s just a cool moment for Team 26 and for me,” Murphy said. “It’s great that they’re going to be able to be there and get to hear all these stories too.”

Then, the players and coaches will return to Tuscaloosa to play a third game against Missouri on Sunday.

At that point, there will officially be a hall-of-famer in the dugout with them. 

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at nkelly@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly