PEORIA, Ariz. -- There was only one way to describe the scene on Saturday at Arizona State University's Packard Stadium, where Pat Murphy, the Padres' Minor League coach and former Sun Devils head coach, was honored by the school.
"It was humbling," said Murphy, who was a four-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and led the Sun Devils to four College World Series appearances.
Murphy, who will manage the Padres' Triple-A affiliate in El Paso, returned to Tempe for the first time since 2009, when he was forced to resign after winning 629 games over 15 years following an NCAA investigation that led to probation.
The school honored Murphy with many of his former players in attendance, including Willie Bloomquist, Andre Ethier, Brooks Conrad, Mike Leake and Travis Buck. Murphy got text messages from players who are training in Florida, like Dustin Pedroia, Brett Wallace and Ike Davis.
"It was kind of extending an olive branch," Murphy said. "For president [Michael] Crow and also the athletic department to do it, just five years later ... it was really a great gesture. It was great to see all those guys [former players]. The fans were great.
"I went over with a little caution because it was pretty messy at the end ... and I wasn't happy with the way it happened," Murphy said. "But I was very humbled."
Murphy joined the Padres' organization in 2010 as a special assistant to baseball operations. He managed two seasons with short-season Eugene before managing Triple-A Tucson last season.