Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/27/09
From Press Releases
The University of Pennsylvania named former assistant Mike Murphy as its new head coach this morning, Athletic Director Steve Bilsky announced.
Murphy, an assistant at Penn in 2001-02, enjoyed much success as head coach of Haverford College the past seven seasons. He replaces Brian Voelker, who took the job at Drexel two weeks ago.
“We are excited to get a coach of Mike’s caliber to Penn,” said Bilsky. “The success he has had as a head coach at Haverford College has made a lot of people in lacrosse circles take note, and his experiences as an assistant coach prior to that lead us to believe that he will step in and have the same kind of impact on our program.”
Said Murphy: “I am ecstatic to return to Penn as the head men’s lacrosse coach. It is a world-class institution that attracts top student-athletes, and I am excited to work with the program’s talented players. This is a great opportunity for me professionally, and my family and I look forward to joining the Penn community. I want to thank Steve Bilsky and his staff for this opportunity.”
Murphy was defensive coordinator at Penn in 2001 and offensive coordinator in 2002. Penn’s 2002 squad went 9-4 overall, at the time the program’s best record in 13 seasons.
Most recently, Murphy took Haverford College to unprecedented heights. The Fords steadily improved every year under his leadership, and Murphy will depart Haverford with 63 career wins, one shy of the school record held by program founder Dana Swan.
Murphy also guided the Black Squirrels to their first two NCAA Division I tournament berths in each of the past two years.
Following a 2008 campaign in which the Fords posted a school-record 11 wins, ranked as high as sixth nationally and earned the program’s first NCAA Championship berth, Murphy’s 2009 squad won 13 games, captured its first Centennial Conference regular-season title, and earned its second NCAA bid. Haverford hosted a second-round NCAA game and finished the year ranked 11th in the nation by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA).
Murphy also has been active in the Philadelphia community at Haverford College. He has led several programs to integrate lacrosse into the inner-city and has been a big supporter of the HEADstrong Foundation.
Murphy’s hiring is just another in a major coaching carousel occurring this off-season in the Philadelphia lacrosse scene. In early June, Princeton’s legendary Bill Tierney left the Ivy League power to take the head job at Denver. Princeton hired Drexel’s Chris Bates to replace Tierney in late June, and Drexel then hired Voelker.
In 2003, Murphy’s first year at Haverford, the Black Squirrels tripled their win total from the previous season and were rated as the second most improved team in Division III by laxpower.com.
In 2004, Haverford notched its first victory over a top-10 team with a 9-5 defeat of Franklin & Marshall, had its first national player of the week in John Michals, and recorded its best record since 1997. In 2005, the Black Squirrels finished in the top 30 of laxpower.com’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and tied their single-season mark for wins, recording the program’s first back-to-back winning seasons since 1992 and 1993.
In 2006, Murphy guided Haverford to its first 10-win season, and led the team to its first national ranking and postseason appearance. The next year saw the Fords make it back to the Centennial Conference playoffs.
Prior to his assistant coaching stint at Penn, Murphy was an assistant coach at the University of Virginia from 1993-97, coaching in the 1994 and 1996 national championship games and three semifinals. He also spent the 1992 season at Brown University, coaching a team that held a top-10 national ranking and was an NCAA quarterfinalist.
Murphy has been a member of the Division III NCAA Championships Committee since August 2005, serving as its chair since 2006. He is also a board member of the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA), and coached the South Team at the 2005 Division III North/South All-Star Game.
Murphy attended Duke University, where he was a three-year starter (one as a long stick middie, two at closed defense) for the nationally ranked Blue Devils and captain of the 1991 team. He graduated with a degree in history and political science. Murphy also holds a master’s degree in higher education management from Penn, earned in May 2004.