On a Friday afternoon with college football less than 24 hours away, the Alabama softball program thought it would be a good time for a news dump. But this is no throwaway news blurb. This is truly an end of an era for the Crimson Tide softball program.
After 25 years on staff as the lead assistant in Tuscaloosa, Alyson Habetz has decided to hang it up.
Thank you for everything Coach Aly and congrats on a well-earned retirement#RollTide— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) August 25, 2023
“It is with a heavy heart overflowing with gratitude that I am retiring from The University of Alabama to help care for my mom,” Habetz said.
“Twenty-five years ago, Patrick Murphy asked me to help him start a softball program in Tuscaloosa. Accepting his invitation led me to discover a career that has truly filled my life beyond measure. There are no words I can say to appropriately thank Coach Murphy for such a gift. I have had the privilege of coaching beside a true legend in our sport. He has created an atmosphere of growth and a culture of excellence with family and gratitude as the centerpiece. What I admire most is Murph’s ability to win championships at the highest level while constantly emphasizing the development of the person over the athlete. Sharing this journey with Coach Murphy has truly been a blessing I will treasure, and I’m extremely honored to call him a mentor and a friend.”
Habetz was part of the contingent that traveled to Italy last month for a few exhibition games and some fun. It is unknown when this move was decided.
Before arriving in Alabama, Habetz played softball and basketball at the school that is now known as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 2003, ULL inducted her into their Hall of Fame. She also briefly played professional women’s baseball for the legendary Colorado Silver Bullets and the Long Beach Aces.
Soon after the folding of the the league, Habetz was hired by head coach Murphy in 1998 before the 1999 season. Her primary responsibility during her tenure in Tuscaloosa was “working with Alabama’s outfielders.”
For the 2024 season, the NCAA approved the hiring of a third paid coach for college softball (and baseball) teams. In recent seasons, the Crimson Tide has had a steep drop off from the offense. Many fans and some reporting outlets - such as this one - have questioned whether the game has passed Murphy and Habetz by. The criticism reached a crescendo at the Tide’s lack of a batting coach on the team staff.
Earlier this month, Murphy promoted volunteer coach Ryan Iamurri to an off-field position of Coordinator of Player Management. He also hired a very inexperienced Adam Arbour for a title to be named later, though it was stated by the University at the time of hiring that Arbour’s primary role would be as “working with the Crimson Tide hitters and catchers.” However, it does not appear that he has much of a resume to back up necessary qualifications.
Lance McMahon returns for a second season as pitching coach. Murphy has one more spot to fill. I wonder what suitable candidates might be available at this point in the year.
Hire Candrea as your batting coach!— CB969 (@CB969onRBR) July 19, 2023