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Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Basketball coach Rob Murphy will remain at Eastern Michigan

By Rich Rezler

The Eastern Michigan athletic department announced Thursday evening that Rob Murphy will remain its men's basketball coach, ending speculation that he was leaving after one season for a position with the Orlando Magic.


Rob Murphy will remain as coach of the Eastern Michigan men's basketball team, the school announced Thursday evening. file photo

Murphy released the following statement through the university:

"I would like to end the speculation about my leaving Eastern Michigan University. 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 tasks at hand: graduating our student-athletes, 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 coming basketball season. Moving forward this will be our focus.

"It is true that I had an opportunity to join the Orlando Magic. Representatives of the Magic were both professional in their approach and respectful of our situation at EMU. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to have spoken with them and would like to 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.

"Most importantly, I must thank my staff and players during this time. Despite several inaccurate media reports our student-athletes have remained focused and positive. They have exhibited a maturity that their parents, EMU and the community should be proud of. My staff has continued to exhibit an unwavering work ethic, professionalism and commitment to EMU. To each of them, I say "Thank You." Moving forward, I would ask that we all return our attention to the future. There is much to be excited about as we begin this upcoming school year."

Multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday that Murphy was leaving the school to take an advanced scout position with the Magic.

According to Murphy's contract, he would have owed the university $210,000 — the equivalent to one year's pay — if he had terminated the agreement "without cause" prior to the completion of his five-year deal.

Murphy became just the fourth Mid-American Conference coach to lead his team to a division title in his first year as head coach. He was also named the MAC Coach of the Year after a 14-18 season ended with a first-round MAC Tournament loss to Northern Illinois.

"When you have success in athletics, like Rob Murphy had in his very first season as the men's basketball coach, you gain national attention and sometimes there are other job opportunities presented to you," Gragg said in a statement. "After discussing the situation with Rob, we both felt that he could continue to grow and build the EMU program and this was not the right time to move on in his professional career."



Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

I fear for future recruiting. Other MAC coach "Yes, son I understand you are also considering EMU, a fine school indeed, but the head coach appears to be wanting to leave as soon as (contractually) possible". Coach Murphy "Yes, young man I did look at another opportunity but it's not every day that a Division I basketball coach gets an offer to become an NBA scout".

greg, too

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 9:08 p.m. isn't every day they get offers to becomes scouts. Usually, they get offers to become asst. coaches or head coaches, not scouts. If there truly was an offer on the table from Orlando (I don't think that has been proven yet), he decided to stay because the buyout was most likely more than the salary he would have as a scout.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

I feel bad for his recruits knowing their coach is interviewing around.

greg, too

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Most every coach is. Hopefully the players knew that going in.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Glad to hear he's staying at EMU!! He's making a difference and that was surely noticeable last year. Looking forward to the new season already. Unless Swami-hat posters are mind readers, no one knows if he ever had really decided to leave or not. Go Eagles!


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

in other words, you can't afford to leave us, and we can afford to go out an get another coach. So we are STUCK in this miserable marriage. Sounds like someone will be sleeping on the coach for a couple years. Murphy blew it, dumb move. Thought he was moving on to a better situation until he was forced to READ his contract. And EMU, as i've said before, will never get it right. I guess the mural will have to stay up up for a while. I can't imagine any player in that program believing a word that man says from this day forward. Why should they "buy in" to what he is selling when he would "sell" them out in a heartbeat for a better gig. Look for players to start bolting in the days and weeks to come. EMU BLEW IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will no longer be one of the 450 fans to attend their games. I guess that increases the odds of winning pizza, or ipods, or what ever for the remaining 449 fans.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

You hit the nail on the head!


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

"According to Murphy's contract, he would have owed the university $210,000 — the equivalent to one year's pay — if he had terminated the agreement "without cause" prior to the completion of his five-year deal." I wonder if this had anything to do with him staying? Nah...


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

It had much less to do with it than you think. If anything, he and Gragg have negotiated issues for the future regarding the program and future salary.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

eagleman; It may have been that Murphy was "free" to go, but it was going to cost him per the "buy out" clause in his contract. This incident has exposed a huge character flaw in Murphy.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

In other words, we are not going to let you out of your contract.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Yes, they would have let him out, if he wanted to pay his way out. It would be a ludicrous business decision by EMU and its cash-strapped athletic program to waive the buyout clause so soon before the season starts.