Millbrook restaurant Catfish House was packed with members of Elmore and Autauga County Alabama Alumni Associations on Thursday night ready to hear from Crimson Tide softball coach Patrick Murphy.
"These association meetings are always so much fun for me," Murphy said. "I meet so many great people who love the University of Alabama and the athletic department. I try to do my best to come to alumni functions to meet awesome people who love the university."
As for his 22 years as coach of one of the most successful softball programs in the country, Murphy said he attributes that success to familiarity.
"We've had six coaches in the 25-year history of softball of at Alabama — not head coaches, six coaches total," he said. "That has been key. One assistant has been with me all 22 years. My pitching coach is on her ninth year. She played for me and was a graduate assistant. So when the players come back every season, it is a consistent approach."
Alabama's softball program has been one of the most successful in the country. The team's on-field accomplishments include a 2012 National Championship, 20 consecutive NCAA tournaments, 11 Women’s College World Series berths, five SEC regular season titles and five SEC Tournament titles.
Players have been just as successful in the classroom, with 24 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America honors and 223 SEC Honor Roll selections, according to the university’s website.
Murphy encouraged the audience to support the softball team when the 2020 season rolls around.
"There is a reason why we won 40 games at home," Murphy said. "It is you guys coming out to the games."
The Elmore County association typically has three meetings a year. Each meeting features a speaker who has ties to the university.
"We have two to three chapter meetings a year," Elmore County association president Jim Quinn said. "We've had former players, announcers, coaches and others come speak. The crowd here is little larger. We have lots of friends here."
Alumni chapters host a variety of activities to raise scholarship funds which are awarded to deserving college freshmen to attend UA, Quinn said.