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Posted on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Eastern Michigan University paying a pretty penny to keep Rob Murphy as head basketball coach

By Pete Cunningham


Eastern Michigan men's basketball coach Rob Murphy, center, is expected to have a contract extension approved on Tuesday.

Angela J. Cesere |

Rob Murphy is still the head men's basketball coach at Eastern Michigan University, but keeping him and his staff in Ypsilanti won't be cheap.

The Eastern Michigan Board of Regents is expected to approve an amended contract with Murphy on Tuesday that will keep him as coach through the 2016-2017 season, one year longer than his original deal. Murphy’s base salary of $210,000 will remain the same, but several performance-based bonuses have been added, in addition to an annual $10,000 raise and an extra $10,000 per year tacked on to his radio show deal, for which he already receives $15,000 annually.

Click here to download Rob Murphy's new contract

Thumbnail image for ROB-MURPHY.JPG

Rob Murphy

Murphy was contacted by the NBA’s Orlando Magic over the summer and was rumored to have accepted a position in August after just one year at the helm for the Eagles. The move that would have cost Murphy $210,000 over the remaining four years of his deal with Eastern Michigan.

Days after several media outlets reported that Murphy was on his way out, Murphy released a statement through the university stating he was staying with Eastern.

His new contract gives him tens of thousands of new reasons to succeed in his time with the Eagles, and increases bonuses already in place.

Among the new bonuses:

  • Murphy will be owed $7,500 if the Eagles reach theCollege Insider Tournament or College Basketball Invitational, and $2,500 for every win in said tournaments.
  • …$10,000 if the Eagles are a top-four seed and $5,000 for a top-five seed in the Mid American Conference Tournament.
  • …$25,000 if he wins the Naismith Men’s College Basketball Coach of the Year award.
  • ...$5,000 if the Eagles at any point during the season appear in the ESPN Mid Major College Poll. Only eligible once per season.
  • …$10,000 if the Eagles are ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press or ESPN Coaches poll at any time during the season. Only eligible once per season.

Existing bonuses which will be increased:

  • Murphy will be owed $25,000 annually for a radio show, for which the university is to make all arrangements, up from $15,000.
  • …$10,000 if the Eagles make the National Invitation Tournament -- up from $5,000 -- and $5,000 for every win in said tournament, up from $2,500.
  • …$12,500 if the Eagles are sole regular season champions of the Mid American Conference West Division or are the highest seed among West Division schools in the MAC Tournament, up from $10,000.
  • …$10,000 if the team ties for the MAC West Division title, up from $5,000.
  • …$10,000 if he wins MAC coach of the year award or National Association of Basketball Coaches national coach of the year. In his current contract, Murphy receives $5,000 for the MAC coach of the year award and an additional bonus of $10,000 for any national coach of the year award.
  • …$7,500 if the Eagles win 12-14 games against Division I-A opponents, up from $5,000; $10,000 for 15-17 wins, up from $7,500; $15,000 for 18 or 19 wins, up from $10,000. Bonuses of $25,000 for 20-24 wins and $30,000 for 25-plus wins remain.

In addition to raising the price tag on several performances, Eastern is lowering the bar for Murphy’s bonuses based on attendance at home games.

The new contract grants Murphy a $10,000 bonus if attendance at home games at the Convocation Center averages between 1,500-1,999, and counts paid ticket holders as well as those with complimentary tickets toward that total. Murphy’s original contract required 1,000 more attendees on average and only counted paid ticket holders for the same bonus.

The attendance bonus increases incrementally to a maximum of $30,000 if attendance grows to more than 6,000 people per game.

If the average attendance threshold is not met, Murphy receives $1,000 for every game at the Convocation Center at which at least 1,500 people attend. Eastern’s average attendance for home games during the 2011-12 season was 1,114 and only twice did more than 1,500 people attend a game, against Michigan State and Ball State.

The Convocation Center has a capacity of roughly 8,800 for basketball games.

The new contract also calls for every assistant coach on staff as well as the school’s director of basketball operations and director of player development to each be paid five percent of the bonuses owed to Murphy.

Last season, 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.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


Zero Zero Zero

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:45 a.m.

Disgusting, pathetic and shameful. If you've been to any of the games, you'd understand that no one (faculty, staff, students and alumni) aren't interested in EMU Basketball ... the Convo Center is a ghost town.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

What a waste of money by EMU. Paying for attendance with free ticket counts is ridiculous.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.


dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 4 p.m.

alrighty then... time to put a winner on the court.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

I have no issue with incentive based bonuses; they are normal for coaches BUT I have an issue with the "Murphy will be owed $7,500 if the Eagles reach the College Insider Tournament or College Basketball Invitational, and $2,500 for every win in said tournaments." First off - ever hear of these tournaments? No, neither has anyone else. They have to climb three rings just to be under the radar. And from what I understand, they are pay-to-play tournaments so they cost schools money -- so to get a bonus for anything other than the NCAA, NIT or MAC title is bogus and a bad business move and I have a serious issue with the AD thinking this was a good move @15crown00 -- football and basketball might (now) be bad to average, but athletics as a whole do very well at EMU and that distinction needs to be made @genetracy --- one could say there is a circular argument as to why there is no fan base for major sports --- being bad leads to apathy and a lack of support and the circle continues. I can also say if the hoops team ever makes the NCAA again it will energize the school and the fan base. Obviously, you have to get there. Also, being in a shadwo market of Detroit and under a larger shadow of a school down the street does not help.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Are you kidding me? All of this for a man who was ready to kick EMU aside to better himself with the pros? It was obvious that he did not want to be here (until he found out he had to pay EMU back a considerable amount of money). I can't believe there isn't someone else out there who is capable of being the kind of coach we need, and someone who will acknowledge and interact with fans off court. This man is all about himself. Give-away tickets most definitely should NOT be counted towards the attendance bonus. I have been a season ticket holder for years and I think it's time to give them up. I absolutely cannot believe this.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

As a season ticket holder, I do enjoy the games. However, I am no "fan" of Murphy. Hearing that his contract has been rewritten makes me sick. Now would be a good time to not buy tickets in hope that his bonus for attendance does not kick in.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.

Those increases are considered "a pretty penny"?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

Athletics stink at EMU and have for a long while.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

As an EMU alumnus, articles like this make never want to donate a dime to the school. EMU should not be in Division 1 in either football or basketball. There is no fan base. Ever watch a televised home basketball game? The cameras never pan the seats because no one is there. What heyday EMU had in either sport is long gone. The school needs to focus on their academic mission and forget about trying to be relevant in sports.

greg, too

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

14-18 and out in the first round of the MAC. Yep, that sounds like he should get a raise. Forget about firing the coaches at EMU. Fire the AD ASAP.

greg, too

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

Oh wait, 14-18, bounced in the first round, AND also looking for another job. Yep...time for a raise.