There are really only two things you can say about softball coach Patrick Murphy and his lost weekend at LSU:
He’s not the first coach to take a job then go scurrying home where he came from.
Billy Donovan, Bobby Cremins and Dana Altman helped blaze that circular trail long before Murphy was announced at LSU on Friday and beat it back to Bama on Sunday.
The fact that it’s happened before elsewhere doesn’t make it any easier for anyone involved with LSU to stomach now.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva thought he had aimed high and hit the bull’s-eye when Murphy agreed to coach the Tigers after 15 highly successful seasons at Alabama.
In a way it all seemed too good to be true, that a coach of Murphy’s caliber would make what amounted to a lateral move - even if it was for more money.
Too good to be true is exactly where Alleva’s arrow landed.
The bull’s-eye turned out to be a moving target that isn’t moving here from Tuscaloosa after all.
It’s a discouraging moment for LSU, whose fans thought they had exacted at least a measure of karma-coated revenge on Alabama for getting Nick Saban to be their football coach five years ago.
It’s also a bitter pill for Alleva, who took the risk of trying to pull off a bold coup and got burned.
Risk doesn’t guarantee reward, and as Alleva heads back into the fray, it should be in a flame-retardant suit.
In the end, there are two groups of people your heart goes out to most of all: LSU’s players, and the family of Alabama assistant and Crowley native Alyson Habetz.
At Murphy’s news conference Friday, LSU players lined one side of the room, and about 30 members of the Habetz family lined the other. You haven’t seen so many smiles at an LSU news conference since Curley Hallman got fired.
The players thought they were getting a coach who was going to get them back in the Women’s College World Series.
The Habetz family thought they were getting their expatriate daughter back home after 13 years in Tuscaloosa.
The smiles didn’t last.
One of the true puzzles of this whole puzzling story is why Habetz told Alleva that she did not want to interview for the job. She said she wasn’t ready to be a head coach.
Not ready? After 13 years as an assistant? Saban should go stand at her office door and repeat his famous line from after the 2002 Bluegrass Miracle: “It’s time to move on.”
It’s time for LSU to move on, too.
Certainly some very attractive candidates will line up after learning that LSU was willing to make Murphy one of the highest-paid coaches in America.
There will be another news conference. Another coach. Maybe this time the marriage will last.
Maybe this time, LSU should have that person sign a pre-nup.