YPSILANTI — Leaning forward into his leather chair behind his desk, Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball coach Rob Murphy reached across his paper littered desk and placed the phone into the cradle and quietly hung up the phone.
This time the phone call was not a student-athlete calling and asking about a chance to play for a Division 1 school but the call he received and excepted was for him.
On the other end of the line, the National Basketball League, the Orlando Magic calling and offering Murphy a chance to coach in the NBA and in the middle of the state and in the sunshine of Florida.
“It is true that I had an opportunity to join the Orlando Magic,” Murphy said. “Representatives of the Magic were both professional in their approach and are respectful of our situation at EMU. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to have spoken with them and would publicly thank them for their professionalism and interest. They have a great franchise with a tremendous staff in place and I wish them nothing but the best.”
Murphy hired last year, April 21, 2011 to be the man in charge of a basketball program that had fallen down and was trying to pick themselves off of the court and get back into the game.
The only thing Murphy did last season was to help the Eagles find some success on the hard wood, he lead the Eagles to a 9-7 record in the Mid-American Conference and that was good enough to capture the West Division title for the first time.
For his effort Murphy was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year and he also shared with the basketball coach at Akron University, Keith Dambrot the National Association of Basketball Coaches Co-Coach of the Year for District 14 in Division 1 basketball.
Dambrot spent sometime in Ypsilanti and at Eastern Michigan University as an assistant coach from 1986-89.
The idea that Murphy might be leaving the program after last season did cross the mind of many Eagle basketball fans.
“I would like to end the speculation about me leaving Eastern Michigan University,” Murphy said. “I am pleased to confirm that I am remaining at EMU as the head coach of the men’s basketball program. Our Athletic Director Dr. Derrick Gragg, has worked diligently with me to insure that we are continuing on the path of building a strong foundation for our basketball program. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity which EMU has provided me and my family and very appreciative of the unwavering support of our Board of regents, students, fans and community. I am eager to return the focus of discussion to the task at hand: graduating our student-athlete, building our basketball program and representing the EMU community in a manner which will evoke both pride and passion for our university. Our team and coaching staff are tirelessly preparing to begin the academic year along with the upcoming basketball season. Moving forward this will be our focus.”
“We are certainly pleased with coach Murphy’s decision to continue to lead our men’s basketball program into the future,” Gragg said. “We look forward to an exciting basketball season that continues the momentum we captured this past year.”
Murphy hung up the phone and walked out of his office and when he walked out of the Convocation Center the bright sunshine splashed across his brow perhaps a heavenly sign but many Eastern Michigan University basketball fans feel that their prayers have been answered because Murphy decided to stay at Eastern Michigan University.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.