Head Men's Basketball Coach
Entering his fourth season since arriving from Syracuse University, Head Coach Rob Murphy has made great strides at Eastern Michigan University. On Dec. 9, 2014, Murphy guided the Eagles to a historic 45-42 road victory over Michigan in the Crisler Center. It was only the third time in school history that the Eagles prevailed over the Wolverines and first win against Michigan since Dec. 17, 1997.
At the conclusion of the 2013-14 season after guiding the Eagles to a 22-15 record and the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, Murphy was named a finalist for the Ben Jobe Award. The Eagles' 22 victories were the most since the 1996-97 season and tied for fourth-most in EMU history. Under Murphy, EMU reached the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT), marking the first time the Eagles had competed in postseason play since the 1997-98 season. During the historic season, the Eagles led the nation in field goal percentage defense behind the 2-3 zone Murphy implemented upon arriving at EMU. In addition to the team success, Murphy coached Da'Shonte Riley into becoming Eastern's first ever MAC Defensive Player of the Year during the 2013-14 campaign. Thus far, Murphy has coached a pair of All-MAC Third Team award winners, in addition to an All-MAC Honorable Mention student-athlete.
In Murphy's second season at EMU, the Eagles registered a 47-44 victory against Purdue. It was the first time since the 1996-97 season that EMU had beaten a Big Ten opponent. During the 2012-13 campaign, the Eagles used their stingy defense to beat Northern Illinois, 42-25. In that contest, the Huskies scored just four points in the first half and converted on 8-of-61 field goals, including holding NIU to just 1-of-33 3-pointers in the game. The Huskies 13.1 percent field goal percentage was the lowest in NCAA history since the shot clock was implemented. The season concluded with EMU winning two games in the MAC Tournament for the first time since the 1997-98 season to reach the quarterfinals.
After Murphy was hired on April 21, 2011, he and his staff worked tirelessly to implent his defensive philosophy and begin the process of reviving the EMU men’s basketball program. During Murphy’s inaugural season, 2011-12, the Eagles won Eastern’s first-ever MAC West Division Championship.
For his efforts in leading the team to that West championship, Murphy was named MAC Coach of the Year and Co-Coach of the Year in the NCAA District 14 Division I ranks by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Coach Murphy has been on the staff of two outstanding college basketball programs and was also a highly successful high school head coach in Detroit, leading Crockett to the Class B State Championship in 2000-01 and was the associate head coach on the staff of the Detroit Central High School team that won the Class A state title in 1997-98.
Murphy took over the EMU job with a strong understanding of high school basketball in the state of Michigan. He spent six years coaching in the Detroit Public School League (1996-2002), four as the head boys basketball coach at Detroit Crockett Technical High School.
A graduate of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Murphy was a two-year starter on the basketball team and the team’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.
After graduating from Central State, Murphy returned to his hometown of Detroit to begin his coaching career at Detroit Central High School as the associate head coach in 1996-98. Central won the state Class A championship in 1997-98 after finishing runner-up in 1996-97.
Murphy then moved over to become the head boys basketball coach at Crockett H.S. and after his first team posted a 5-13 mark, the Rockets improved to win three consecutive Class B District titles and captured the state championship in 2000-01. His Crockett teams had a 64-27 record and he was named All-Metro Coach of the Year by the Detroit Free Press in 2000-01.
From Crockett, Murphy joined the Kent State University staff for two seasons, 2002-03 and 2003-04, and the teams turned in back-to-back 22-9 seasons on the way to two Mid-American Conference East Division crowns. Both teams were invited to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
After that successful two-year stint as an assistant for the Golden Flashes, Murphy joined Head Coach Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse University men’s basketball program as an assistant. During his seven years on the staff, the Orange recorded a 180-67 overall record and played in the post season every year, with five NCAA appearances and two NIT stops.