An interesting coincidence as baseball season rolls around. The annual Pac-10 coaches’ poll released its pre-season projections this week, picking ASU as the favorite to win this year’s title. At the same time, word comes out of San Diego that Pat Murphy, the coach that turned the Sun Devil baseball program into a national contender on a regular basis, has been hired by the Padres as a special assistant to baseball operations.
No connection, of course. Just an interesting juxtapositioning of news events. Murphy was unexpectedly dismissed from the ASU program right after being named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season and taking the Devils to four College World Series appearances. The program is currently being investigated by the NCAA .
The Padres also tapped into the University of Arizona talent pool and named Jeff Pickler, a Wildcat assistant coach last year, as a professional scout.
As for the coaches’ poll, ASU is No. 1 and UofA is ranked fifth. The Sun Devils received seven of nine first-place votes for 78 points; this is the second straight year they have been picked to win it all. The Wildcats, coming off a 13-14 conference record, garnered 44 points. The Cats won 10 of their final 12 league games, so may have been expecting a higher ranking.
ASU opens conference play March 25 against California at Tempe. UofA hosts Oregon March 26-28 to open conference play.
But don’t expect to see Pat Murphy at the ASU game. Actually, any ASU game.