There’s now a definitive answer to the Rob Murphy “should he stay at Eastern Michigan or take a job with the Orlando Magic” question.
As first reported by the Detroit News Murphy will remain in Ypsilanti as the head coach at Eastern Michigan, turning down the opportunity to join the Magic organization.
“I would like to end the speculation about my leaving Eastern Michigan University,” said Murphy in the school release. “I am pleased to confirm that I am remaining at EMU as the head coach of the men’s basketball program. Our Athletic Director, Dr. Derrick Gragg, has worked diligently with me to insure that we are continuing on the path of building a strong foundation for our basketball program.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity which EMU has provided me and my family and very appreciative of the unwavering support of our Board of Regents, students, fans and community.
“I am eager to return the focus of discussion to the tasks at hand: graduating our student-athletes, building our basketball program and representing the EMU community in a manner which will evoke both pride and passion for our university.
“Our team and coaching staff are tirelessly preparing to begin the academic year along with the coming basketball season. Moving forward this will be our focus.”
Earlier today, Daniel Martin wrote that the buyout clause in Murphy’s contract, which would have required him to pay Eastern Michigan his annual salary ($210,000), was complicating matters with Murphy having accepted a job in Orlando’s scouting department on Tuesday.
Murphy’s decision to remain at EMU is good news for the Eagles, which has the talent (both returning and entering the program) needed to improve upon their 2011-12 campaign.
Overall EMU finished last season with a 14-18 record, but their 9-7 conference mark was good enough to win the MAC’s West Division (the East had four teams with ten or more conference wins).
Transfers Glenn Bryant (Arkansas) and Daylen Harrison (Wyoming) will add depth in the front court while freshman guard Ray Lee is talented enough to have an immediate impact on the program.
“When you have success in athletics, like Rob Murphy had in his very first season as the men’s basketball coach, you gain national attention and sometimes there are other job opportunities presented to you,” remarked Dr. Gragg.
“After discussing the situation with Rob, we both felt that he could continue to grow and build the EMU program and this was not the right time to move on in his professional career.”
Having to look for a new head coach could have stunted the growth of EMU going into the 2012-13 season, so it’s good for the administration that a coaching search won’t be necessary.