The University of Tennessee introduced Todd Raleigh of Western Carolina as its new head baseball coach Thursday.
Arizona State’s Pat Murphy was contacted by a search firm representing UT, but that is apparently as far as the Volunteers’ interest went.
“I have not spoken to anyone from the school,” Murphy said Wednesday afternoon, hours after his team arrived in the Valley from Omaha, Neb., where it was eliminated from the College World Series.
Murphy, whose Sun Devils (49-15) finished fifth at the CWS after an 8-7, 10-inning loss to UC Irvine on Tuesday, said that no other schools have contacted him about a coaching vacancy.
UT fired coach Rod Delmonico, a veteran of 18 seasons, earlier this month after the Volunteers went 34-25 and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament. In this decade, Delmonico took the Volunteers to a pair of CWS appearances, but also missed the NCAAs five times.
Delmonico made a reported $180,000 annually. As a result, it was uncertain if Tennessee could have offered Murphy enough money to lure him from ASU, where he has four seasons left on a contract worth $272,000 a year.
Raleigh, who has coached at Western Carolina for eight seasons and taken the Catamounts to the NCAA tournament twice (2003 and ’07), is certainly a better budget fit.
Murphy, who has 529 wins and three CWS appearances (1998, 2005 and ’07) in 13 seasons in Tempe, said that his immediate checklist includes finding a replacement for Henry “Turtle” Thomas, an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator who took the head job at Florida International, and continuing to push for improvements to Packard Stadium.
This season, broadcasters and crew members from Fox Sports Net and ESPN (during the super regional against Mississippi) expressed dissatisfaction with the facility’s press box, which is open-air and cramped. Shade for grandstand seats at Packard is also a priority.
“I know the football and basketball practice facilities are highest on the list right now,” Murphy said, “but we’ll try and get the improvements we need done, because they need to be.”