‘Something I dream about’: Pat Murphy named as new manager of the Milwaukee Brewers

Murphy has been bench coach for the club since 2015

Pat Murphy wears a Brewers jersey as he leans over to shake hands with the general manager.
Brewers Manager Pat Murphy, left, shakes hands with General Manager Matt Arnold, right, during a press conference Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Angela Major/WPR

“Something I dream about, man.”

Those were some of the first words out of Pat Murphy’s mouth when Tyler Arnold, the son of Milwaukee Brewers general manager Matt Arnold, said the team was offering him the job of manager.

Murphy has been with the franchise since 2015 as a bench coach for former manager Craig Counsell, who suddenly left for the Chicago Cubs last week.

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“I didn’t think Counsell was ever leaving, so I never thought I’d have that shot,” Murphy said in a video of the phone call posted to the team’s social media.

Now, Murphy will lead the Brewers into the 2024 season. The team announced Wednesday he accepted a three-year contract with the club. Former Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks was named the associate manager.

“There’s just something about this city — I seem to be connected with the Brewers and Milwaukee,” Murphy said during an introductory press conference Thursday.

“I’m really grateful. I’m thankful and I can tell you that with these coaches out here, with Rickie, we’re going to band together, and we’ll have these guys ready to compete,” he said.

Pat Murphy gestures as he speaks while sitting alongside Rickie Weeks.
Manager Pat Murphy speaks to reporters during a press conference while sitting next to Associate Manager Rickie Weeks, left, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Angela Major/WPR

Weeks, the Brewers’ 2003 first-round draft pick, will take over Murphy’s former role of bench coach, which has been renamed “associate manager.”

“I’m back,” Weeks said Thursday. “To me, it’s a very good homecoming to me.”

The duo is now at the helm of a team that’s still reeling from Counsell’s exit, which angered fans and even surprised some in the organization. Murphy, who turns 65 on Nov. 28, was a mentor to Counsell, managing him as a player when he was the head coach of the University of Notre Dame’s baseball team.

Now, he’ll face off against Counsell and the Cubs — the Brewers’ rival to the south — who will be in Milwaukee for the first time next year on May 27.

“I’ve got a 37-year relationship with Craig, and it takes on many different forms, and it’s now going to take on a different form of competing against, so, it’s what it is,” Murphy said.

Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell looks around the stadium during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Murphy, the 20th manager of the franchise, has a long history with the sport. Before joining the Brewers, he was special assistant of baseball operations for the San Diego Padres. He served as interim manager of that team for a short period in 2015. He also spent 25 years as the head coach for four different college baseball teams, including for Arizona State University from 1995 until 2009.

He’ll now take over a club with an uncertain future, as reports have been swirling that the team is open to trading “virtually any player” following Counsell’s exit. Murphy said he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s been a great eight years, and now the role changes a little bit, and I’m excited about it,” Murphy said.

Weeks also said his on the field experience will help him in his new role.

“The concept of baseball, it’s always been the same,” Weeks said. “How we go about doing it — that’s where the staff and the evaluators come into play to kind of help that player along.”

The three men sit at a wooden table as members of the press attend.
Associate Manager Rickie Weeks, left, Manager Pat Murphy, center, and General Manager Matt Arnold, right, respond to questions from reporters Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Angela Major/WPR

Other teams across the league have also renamed the bench coach position as “associate manager” in recent months. But to Murphy, he said the job remains mostly the same.

“Rickie coming here is something that’s going to be a major impact,” Murphy said. “I think sometimes titles you can dissect in different ways, but he’s going to have a huge role in molding and shaping the mindset of this group.”

“I never had that title (associate manager) as a bench coach. I asked for it, (Matt Arnold) said ‘no,’” Murphy jokingly said during the press conference.

Murphy, a Syracuse, New York native, also hinted at how he’d lead the team, which will likely have some younger players on the roster next year.

“I believe in love and discipline, in that order,” Murphy said. “And sometimes, it gets close. And not everybody understands it. I know my kids sometimes, they don’t understand it, but love and discipline is what this is about.”

The Brewers have made the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. However, the franchise has never won a World Series in its over 50-year history.

But the club will now stay in Milwaukee until at least 2050, after a stadium financing deal was passed this week by state lawmakers. Gov. Tony Evers is expected to sign that bill soon.

Excluding Counsell, the team also announced the remainder of its coaching staff is returning next season. That includes pitching coach Chris Hook and first base coach Quintin Berry.