Craig Counsell (left) and Pat Murphy (right) chat before their game August 4, 2015.

A Golden Connection Leads Irish Duo To The Majors

Aug. 20, 2015

Notre Dame Years


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, four members of Fighting Irish Media took a road trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to interview Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell and San Diego Padres manager Pat Murphy before game two of their four-game series at Miller Park.

Why interview two seemingly random Major League Baseball managers you ask?

Counsell and Murphy weren’t random. In fact, they both have a special connection to Notre Dame and a special connection to each other.

Jump back nearly 30 years as Murphy arrived on the Notre Dame campus in 1987 ready to become the newest Irish baseball head coach. About a month later, Counsell set foot on campus for his freshman year, ready to follow in the footsteps of his dad, John Counsell, who played baseball for Notre Dame 25 years earlier.

What followed was a four-year, coach-player partnership that helped transform Irish baseball from a fledgling Midwest program to a well-known and consistent national power that nearly went to three College World Series under Murphy before Murphy’s successor Paul Mainieri got the job done in 2002.

A fun afternoon of chatting with Counsell and Murphy about baseball and Notre Dame led to the above video. After you watch the video, take a look at the two photo galleries – one includes photos of the pair at Notre Dame and the other includes photos from the interview day in early August – and check out the facts you might not know about each manager.

We at Fighting Irish Media hope you enjoy.

5 Things You Need To Know About Pat Murphy

  • Pat Murphy came to Notre Dame in July 1987 at the age of 29 and transformed a program that had never won 30 games in a season dating back to 1892 … the program proceeded to win 39 games in his first season (1988) before rolling over competition to the tune of 45+ wins in each of his final six seasons … he completed his career at Notre Dame with an impressive 318-116-1 (.732) mark.
  • Highlighting Murphy’s tenure were four appearances in the NCAA Championship, with the program coming inches close to the College World Series on multiple occasions.
  • In addition to Craig Counsell, Murphy had 16 players drafted by Major League Baseball while he was at Notre Dame.
  • In January 1984 – three years before being hired by the Irish – Murphy wrote a letter to former Notre Dame men’s basketball head coach Digger Phelps about working under the Golden Dome as the head baseball coach … Phelps wrote a letter back to Murphy that can be viewed in the above photo gallery.
  • Following his tenure with the Irish, Murphy excelled again at Arizona State (629-284-1, .689), taking the program to four College World Series while earning Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors four times … following ASU, he moved on to the San Diego Padres organization where he spent time as the Special Assistant to Baseball Operations, the manager of the Eugene Emeralds (Northwest League), the Tucson Padres (Triple AAA) and the El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple AAA) before being appointed as interim manager of the Padres June 16, 2015.

5 Things You Need To Know About Craig Counsell

  • Craig Counsell came to Notre Dame from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, which is about seven miles outside of Milwaukee … his father – John Counsell – played right field for the Irish from 1962-64 and served as the Director of the Speakers Bureau and Director of Community Relations for the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • At Notre Dame, Counsell monogramed all four years and hit .306 with 18 homers and 166 RBI during his time under the Golden Dome … he played all four years under Pat Murphy and was drafted in the 11th round of the 1992 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies after graduating from the Mendoza College of Business with a degree in accounting.
  • Breaking into the majors in 1995 with the Rockies, Counsell was traded midway through the 1997 season to the Florida Marlins … starting at second base, Counsell helped lead the Marlins to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians … in game seven he tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a sacrifice fly before scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 11th off a single from Edgar Renteria … after playing a season with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1999), Counsell moved on to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he earned NLCS MVP honors in 2001 after going 8-for-21 in the series … he found himself on base again when the Diamondbacks had a walk-off win over the New York Yankees in game seven of the 2001 World Series … Counsell also played with the Brewers on two different occasions, ultimately retiring in 2012.
  • Counsell finished his 16-year career with a .255/.342/.344 split and 1,208 hits, 218 doubles, 40 triples, 42 homers, 390 RBI, 103 stolen bases, 589 walks, 54 hit by pitch, 57 sacrifice hits, 35 sacrifice flies and 647 runs scored over 1,624 games.
  • Upon retirement Counsell moved into a front-office position with the Brewers, serving as the special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin … in 2014 he served as a part-time color analyst for Brewers games before taking over as manager May 3, 2015 and signing a three-year contract.

–Russell Dorn, Athletics Communications Assistant Director