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Posted on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

Reports: After 1 season, EMU basketball coach Rob Murphy leaving for position with Orlando Magic

By Rich Rezler


After one year as the Eastern Michigan men's basketball coach, Rob Murphy (center) has reportedly accepted a position with the Orlando Magic.

Jeff Sainlar I

Rob Murphy’s list of accomplishments in his first year as the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball coach was an impressive one.

There reportedly will be no second-year list.

According to multiple reports, Murphy has accepted a position with the Orlando Magic, leaving the Eagles without a coach just three months before the start of the 2012-13 season. sports reporter Graham Couch first reported Murphy's exodus early Tuesday, although other sources hinted afterward that the coach was still contemplating the offer.

An EMU spokesperson said Tuesday he could not confirm or deny the reports and Murphy could not be reached for comment.

Brian Schmitz, the Magic beat writer for the Orlando Sentinel, confirmed the report via Twitter just after 3 p.m., saying Murphy would join the NBA franchise's scouting department "barring (a) change of heart."

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.

After signing a contract worth $210,000 per year before incentives in April 2011, Murphy told a crowd assembled for his introductory press conference that the EMU position was “not a stepping stone” for him and that he “will not let you down.”

Inheriting a program that had one winning season since 2000, Murphy started to lure transfers from major Division I programs to Ypsilanti.

Michigan native DaShonte Riley, a 7-footer who Murphy recruited to Syracuse, was the first to join the Eagles’ program. Riley played half of last season. Murphy also signed 6-foot-7 Glenn Bryant from Arkansas and 6-foot-6 Daylen Harrison from Wyoming. They’re both eligible to play in the 2012-13 season.

Last April, Mike Talley - a three-time Michigan Class C Player of the Year at Melvindale Academy of Business & Technology -- announced he was leaving Duquesne to join Murphy at EMU.

Jalen Ross, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Greensboro, N.C., is the only member of the Eagles’ 2012 recruiting class, joining a roster that included just four seniors (Antonio Green, Quintin Dailey, Darrell Lampley and Kamil Janton) in 2011-12.

Murphy was named EMU's coach after serving as an assistant coach at Syracuse (2004-11) and Kent State (2002-04).


Greatlakesstate Hoops

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

EMU has had two glorious periods in the last 50 years upon which it bases its hoops tradition, the Jim Dutcher Era and the Ben Braun Era. Each of those coaches before coming to EMU had established a track record as a builder of a successful intercollegiate program on the east side of our state, Dutcher at Alpena JC and Braun at Siena Heights College, a former convent that had just begun admitting male students where the home court was the City of Adrian recreation center. Three of the last four coaches EMU has hired since Braun have been big conference assistants with no program building track record and it hasn't worked. EMU needs to hire a coach who has built a successful intercollegiate program locally and there is only one such coach out there: CARLOS BRIGGS, who built Schoolcraft College into a national JC power with no dorms, tiny budget and little tradition and is responsible for recruiting most of the roster that had the UDM Titans in the NCAA Tournament last spring. The last in-state team to win the MAC had as its MVP an unheralded high school player whom Briggs developed at Schoolcraft.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

OK first, EMU will always be a stepping stone. That's what it is. No one, and I mean no one, will ever go here thinking it's their final stop. If you want someone like that you are dreaming. No one will come in and say I'm gonna turn EMU around, make $300k and stay here. Charles Ramsey really wanted to be here, probably still would have moved on given the opportunity though, and look at how that worked out. In saying that though it's still a slap in the face because of the timing. It really hurts the program.You can say they were a mess with or without him but they are a bigger mess with him leaving right now. Almost impossible to hire a guy now so they'll be stuck with some interim that will get axed after the year.

Mark H

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Murphy was just a hired gun, with zero loyalty to EMU or EMU students, staff, or alumni. Hired guns move on when they get better offers. Goes with the territory -- don't blame the hired gun for his obvious lack of loyalty! The real issue is that EMU, no matter what guns are hired to coach or how briefly they stay, can't afford to sink the huge fortunes into Division 1 sports that EMU does. There is no market demand for EMU athletics, and it's wholly paid for out of the pockets of students who have no interest in watching EMU games. They have work to do and studies to complete! Drop out of Division 1 now!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Hey Mark, quit adding rationality into the discourse.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Eastern had a chance to hire Dane Fife along with other more qualified, stable coaches and chose to go this route. A lot of politics were involved, and it looks like it has caught up with them after only one year.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

So much for a contract. The paper wasn't worth the ink it was printed on. I hope EMU makes a better choice and good luck.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

amen runner, amen.....he just moves on......I can hear him now, "It was is a dream of mine to be in the NBA."


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

so much for loyalty or this not being a stepping stone.....and the recruits, what will happen with them....poor timing......I don't care if it is EMU or any school, the coach just moves on and the players stay or have to sit out a year if they transfer......


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

If I buy the paint and the brush, can I be the one to paint over his larger than life image in the mural in the basketball suite? I hope those who thought he was such a good hire are happy with the way the players are being left in limbo for the upcoming season.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

I almost puked the first time I saw that mural. That was the day I lost all respect for Rob Murphy.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Based on the timing of his departure, Mr. Stapleton and Mr. Higgins should be real proud of their "hire"!

greg, too

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

I'm sorry, but what were people expecting? EMU is a small directional school that will continue to serve as a "stepping stone" for coaches to bigger and better things. It's not being mean, it's just the reality. You know why some people call the MAC the "cradle of coaches" in college football? It's because coaches start there and leave. They need to include a buyout (on his side) for the next coach since we know that if he is a success, he will be gone before his contract is over. If he sticks around for 20 years, it's because he isn't wanted at a higher level. One poster suggested Fife. I would make sure you add a buyout for him to leave as he will be wanted at a higher level if he succeeds here. It's just the reality of rooting for a mid major school.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

greg; I believe there is a "buy out" clause in his contract.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

Bill Freider would be a smart choice for the EMU job. Perhaps Perry Watson can be lured out of retirement. If you want a young coach pluck Dane Fife off the MSU staff.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

What's the matter boo, got sour grapes or some kind of bone to pick.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

Well, if you are opening the door to go back 20 years, EMU had a really good squad in the mid-late 90's. Mac Champs in 96 and 98, two NCAA tourney appearances, one of which included knocking out Duke in the 1st round and then hanging with eventual national champs Uconn. Earl Boykins, Derrick Dial (NBA Draftee), and Brian Tolbert were all fun to watch.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

no sour grapes, just a frustrated fan. Can you recall anything EMU has done in basketball the last decade? or two? When was the last time they hired a competent coach who did anything??? They blew it 15 years ago when they let Gary Waters go to another school. Maybe you know something the rest of us don't?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

They need to hire an older coach that has no aspirations other than to coach at a small college...

VO Key

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

EMU has better resources and is in a better geographical location than many other so-called mid major programs. SE Michigan is rich in basketball talent, the Convocation Center is a 1st rate facility, EMU offers a wide array of majors and courses (which is important for keeping kids eligible) and the salary they offer their coaches is right on par with that of their peer institutions. This is a better job than many locals seem to perceive because the program has been down so long. Places like Cleveland State, Winthrop, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Iona have placed multiple teams in the NCAA tournament with far less resources. The EMU job should inspire a good deal of interest from qualified candidates. It is up to the EMU administration to make the right decision and hire someone of character who can help the program reach its potential.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

Unfortunately, it is a small college in terms of it's basketball following though. Far too much competition with other big major programs and pro sports in the area. A better winning percentage may change that but it's still tough in this region.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Eastern is not a small college its a mid major. Its student body is in the 90-95 percentile.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

not a huge loss. EMU is mess with him or without him.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

@Boo did you watch any of the EMU basketball games? Rob Murphy did a lot with a team with no talent. He also has brought in a lot of great talent like transfers from Syracuse and Arkansas (who are expected to play this upcoming season). I expected Coach Murphy to leave, but not this soon. He had a potential over the next three/four years to build a team that would compete for the MAC championship every year.