By Louis Milman
This past week, assistant basketball coach Rob Murphy accepted the head coaching job at Eastern Michigan University. Yesterday, Murphy’s farewell press conference was held at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center.
Murphy took the assistant coaching job at SU 7 years ago. Syracuse was just one year removed from winning a national championship, and assistant Troy Weaver received a job in the NBA. Murphy was a largely unknown assistant at Kent State, and when the chance to learn from a legendary coach like Jim Boeheim arose, Murphy took it.
Seven years later, Murphy has built a name for himself at Syracuse. Whether recruiting players like Wes Johnson, Kris Joseph, Baye Moussa Keita, Arinze Onuaku, and C.J. Fair or his work with the forwards, Murphy has had a huge impact on the SU basketball program, and will leave big shoes for his replacement Adrian Autry to fill.
Murphy spent his press conference gushing praise for Boeheim, and the rest of the SU staff. More telling, however, it was Boeheim’s opening statements. Boeheim called Murphy “an unbelievable coach here for us. What he’s done is as good as anybody’s ever done here and we’ve had a lot of great assistant coaches.’’
As much as Murphy thanked Boeheim and everyone else involved in his time at SU for being a part of his rise to this head coaching chance, the SU program should thank Coach Murphy for all he’s done on The Hill.
Kris Joseph took to twitter to thank Murph for “helping me grow as a person and a player from the day [Murphy] started recruiting me.” Murphy was more than a coach during his time here. He was a confidante to so many of the players at SU, he was the star of the team’s “Shut It Down” campaign, and he was more than happy to interact with the students and other fans. Murphy’s title was assistant coach, but he did it all in his time at Syracuse.
Coach Murphy is by all accounts a great fit for Eastern Michigan, but that won’t make his exit any easier. Murphy had to fight back tears just a few words into his farewell, and was visibly sad to leave the place where he’s made a name for himself. Though the opportunity for him is a great one, the Syracuse community and the basketball program should be just as sad to see him go.