Tonawanda News — Murphy is enjoying retirement, playing golf as much as he can, most of the time with his best friend and former NT assistant softball coach Edgy Skovenski.
Skovenski was as big a reason for NT’s success as anybody, Murphy said. They made the perfect team.
“I was such the disciplinarian and Edge was the good guy,” Murphy explained. “He’d say don’t listen to him he’s a jerk. … I think our philosophy has always been to give them the basics and the kids will improve. Give them the fundamentals and let them grow on their own. That’s basically what we did.”
Murphy thought that if the players practiced every situation 100 times, when it came game time, knowing what to do would be second nature.
“He taught so much basics that you could do the basics without thinking,” Skovenski said. “All the natural great things would happen because you didn’t have to think what to do, it was natural. … He was known for manufacturing runs. He bunted teams to death because he knew at a higher level we’d be playing teams that had pitchers with 12 or 14 strike outs against teams that were swinging away, and you have to score runs to win.”
Going into the NYS Hall of Fame with Murphy is his former star pitcher Kim Frizzell.
Murphy recalled a moment that illustrated most fittingly the result of his coaching style. In the final inning of a game against rival Niagara-Wheatfield at a field behind City Hall, Frizzell was on the mound and not having her best stuff. The Lady Jacks clung to a 5-3 lead and the bases were loaded.
“They hit a shot back to her and she pulls off a triple play,” Murphy said. “We’re out of the inning and we win the game. She doubled up at second and they had a run down (between first and second), and she came back into the run down and she threw to home. Those are the things we coached.”