Well this sucks. According to numerous tweets and other reports, URI associate head coach Preston Murphy will be taking his talents to Chestnut Hill. News broke this afternoon that Boston College was trying to woo Murphy away to become an assistant for the Eagles under new head coach Jim Christian. The word from various tweets is that Murphy will accept BC’s offer. SI’s Pete Thamel was the first to report the possibility, and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello, and College ChalkTalk’s Bill Koch all reported the news that Murphy will leave. Additionally, Jon Rothstein from CBS Sports reports that it’s a “done deal”.
URI's Preston Murphy is now a done deal to join Jim Christian's staff as an assistant, sources told @CBSSports. Will join Scott Spinelli.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 17, 2014
Needless to say, this is a crushing blow to URI on a number of levels.
First, a little background on P-Murph. Obviously, most Rhody fans know his as a former player, with his career at Rhode Island spanning from 1995-99. That stretch included three NCAA Tournament appearances (including the Elite Eight run) as Murphy played alongside URI greats like Lamar Odom, Tyson Wheeler, Cuttino Mobley, and Antonio Reynolds-Dean. After a brief career overseas, Preston coached the Woonsocket High School boys’ basketball team for four years before jumping to the collegiate level. Murphy was the Director of Basketball Operations at BC for four seasons under former Rhode Island coach (and former Preston Murphy coach) Al Skinner.
But P-Murph soon returned to his roots, taking a position under former URI coach He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. When Dan Hurley was brought in, he retained Murphy on his staff. And perhaps URI saw something like this coming, because Murphy was elevated to the position of Associate Head Coach just two weeks ago. Apparently, it wasn’t enough to keep him in tow.
So what does this mean? Well it’s a big blow to recruiting, that’s for damn sure. Murphy was responsible for bringing in players like E.C. Matthews, Jordan Hare, and most recently Jarvis Garrett. That Michigan pipeline that Rhody had is most likely gone. Plus, Murphy is an alum… despite hailing from The Great Lakes State, it feels like he’s one of Rhode Island’s own. This stings in a number of ways from a fan’s perspective.
Now what? In the short-term, keeping Murphy’s recruits with the program has to be a priority for Dan Hurley and Co. There’s no indication that they’re going anywhere, but obviously there’s some panic amongst fans on that front. The next step after that is moving on and hiring another assistant. It’s tough, but it’s the reality of the game. Coaches – especially assistants – come and go. And now we’ll have to keep a close eye on the coaching carousel, because it looks Rhode Island will be looking to pull someone off.
UPDATE: April 18, 6:00 p.m.
Apparently Rothstein’s tweet of it being a “done deal” was premature, according to Chris DiSano:
Murphy to BC not yet done deal. May happen, but any insinuation URI hasn't stepped up to retain him is incorrect. Should shake out soon.
— Chris DiSano (@CDiSano44) April 18, 2014
UPDATE: April 19, 2:30 p.m.
According to Bill Koch, Murphy has officially accepted BC’s offer. Koch was one of the first to report that Murphy would accept the Assistant Coach position.
— Bill Koch (@BillKoch25) April 19, 2014
Koch also has some new info and excellent quotes in his piece for the South County Independent.
UPDATE: April 20, 4:30 p.m.
Dan Hurley and Murphy himself weighed in on the move via Twitter.
Best of luck to @coach_pmurph Thanks for your efforts and friendship these past two years. A great representative of URI on so many levels!
— Dan Hurley (@dhurley15) April 20, 2014
Thankful for @dhurley15 for the opportunity to represent the u of Rhode Island the last 2 years.
— Preston Murphy (@coach_pmurph) April 20, 2014