June 13, 2011 8:32:00 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore announced Sunday afternoon that softball coach Patrick Murphy has returned to the school as head coach after leaving Thursday to take the job as head softball coach at LSU.
Murphy contacted LSU officials Sunday to let them know he had decided not to accept the job, and Moore accepted Murphy''s request to return to Alabama when the coach contacted him Sunday.
"I am glad to see he has had a change of heart because I have always known he is one of the finest coaches in America," Moore said.
Murphy guided Alabama to a 53-11 record this season that included a third-place finish at the Women''s College World Series and a second straight Southeastern Conference regular-season title.
"I want to thank everyone at the University of Alabama -- the administration, the players, and the support staff -- for their support over the last few days," Murphy said. "I have tremendous respect for the University of Alabama and for LSU. LSU offered me a great opportunity, but I realized once I got there I had made a mistake that had nothing to do with LSU. I realized I belong at Alabama. Alabama is where my heart is, and I cannot in good conscience try to do a job in which I am not totally committed beyond any doubt. The last few days have only made it clear Alabama is where I want to be -- beyond any doubt. It would have been totally unfair to everyone at LSU -- especially the players -- for me to be conflicted at all about where I was."
Under his direction in 2011 Murphy had four players earn NFCA All-America honors and five garner All-SEC accolades, including two-time SEC Pitcher of the Year Kelsi Dunne.
In 13 seasons at Alabama, Murphy is 712-210 (287-86 in the league. He has guided the Crimson Tide to seven WCWS, seven SEC championships (four tournament, three regular season), and a postseason berth every season.
Alyson Habetz, Alabama''s associate head coach who joined Murphy at LSU, also will return as part of the staff.
"I appreciate everything LSU did," Murphy said. "They did everything in a first-class manner. This change of heart is not in any way a reflection on anyone at LSU. It is solely something I am responsible for. I can only convey to everyone my deepest apologies for putting all of those who care about both of these programs through a difficult time. In my heart, I know that this is the right thing for me to do.
"When reconsidering all of the factors involved, this decision comes down to the fact that I love the people at Alabama, the kids that have played for us there and who are on the team right now. There are some fences to mend, but I look forward to getting the chance to discuss the situation individually with everyone involved over the days ahead. I am excited about the future of Alabama softball, and I look forward to getting back to work."