Northern Arizona hires Memphis assistant Jack Murphy

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Northern Arizona filled its coaching vacancy on Thursday afternoon, hiring Memphis assistant Jack Murphy to take over for interim head coach Dave Brown.

Brown took over on December 9 when Mike Adras moved on and the Lumberjacks finished the 2011-12 season with a 5-24 record, going 1-15 in the Big Sky.

Murphy spent the last three seasons at Memphis under head coach Josh Pastner, and both got their starts at the collegiate level in the Grand Canyon State.

Murphy was part of the Arizona program for eight seasons, first as a student manager and then holding various positions under Lute Olson before becoming an advance scout for the Denver Nuggets in 2006.

“Jack is an exceptional addition to NAU athletics and brings a strong recruiting presence that will attract outstanding talent to the program,” vice president of Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos said in a school release.

“Jack is committed to the university’s excellence in academics and athletics, and under his leadership the Lumberjacks will emerge as a competitive force in the Big Sky.”

Campos was just named to her position on March 30, replacing Jim Fallis. Campos arrived in Flagstaff following a stint at UTEP, and based on the comments of many within college basketball her first hire is a good one.

But Murphy will have his work cut out for him as the Lumberjacks went from 19 wins and an appearance in the CIT in 2010-11 to five wins last season.

The good news is that Stallon Saldivar is expected back in Flagstaff for his senior season, and if Murphy can keep Saldivar and others on board that would be a good first step in the right direction.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.