Rob Murphy

Eastern Michigan faces another daunting non-conference schedule

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In Rob Murphy’s first two years as head coach of Eastern Michigan, the Eagles have seriously upped the rigor of their non-conference schedule.

According to KenPom.com, Eastern Michigan’s non-conference strength of schedule was 276 in 2009-10 and 224 in 2010-11, but when Murphy arrived the strength of schedule was 106 in 2011-12 and 108 in 2012-13.

Is Murphy employing the “Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone” kind of scheduling strategy? Maybe not that far, but he certainly isn’t shying away from the top teams in the country.

In this his third year at the helm, the non-conference schedule is highlighted with games at Kentucky (part of the Keightley Classic), vs. Massachusetts, at Purdue, vs. Green Bay, and consecutive games at Duke and at Syracuse to close out 2013.

According to Murphy: “We’re excited about playing the tough non-conference schedule we’ve put together. Facing elite programs such as Duke, Kentucky and Syracuse that have great basketball tradition are challenges we’re looking forward to.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jim Boeheim threw Murphy a guarantee game as Murphy was an assistant at Syracuse from 2004-11.

In all, Eastern Michigan will play three teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season (Akron, Duke and Syracuse) and ten others that competed in other post-season events (Green Bay, Kentucky, Kent State, Massachusetts, Oakland, Ohio, Purdue, Robert Morris, Texas Arlington and Western Michigan).

The Eagles are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.

Eastern Michigan, Houston, IUPUI wins kick off 2012-13 season

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Everyone is set for Friday night’s big match-ups to begin the 2012-13 season, but three games took place Friday afternoon to officially begin the year. Check out the three games below:

Eastern Michigan 66, Rochester 52

The Eagles thought they had lost their head coach to an NBA job this offseason, but Rob Murphy returns to the sidelines in 2012-13 and led his team to victory in the season opener. EMU senior Derek Thompson scored 22 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. Ray Lee and Daylen Harrison added 12 points apiece for the Eagles. Drew Maynard led the way for Rochester, scoring 27 of the Warriors’ 52 points on 11-of-19 shooting. EMU plays again Sunday when they travel to Jacksonville State.

Houston 81, Florida A&M 76

Houston enters its final season in Conference USA before moving to the Big East and began it’s 2012-13 season with a narrow win over Florida A&M. Leon Gibson scored 20 points and TaShawn Thomas scored 11 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the win. Highly touted freshman Danuel House struggled to find his stroke in his first official collegiate game, going 1-of-6 from the floor for six points. Reggie Lewis and Jamie Adams led Florida A&M with 18 points each.

IUPUI 67, Utah Valley 54

IUPUI was chosen to finish fifth in the Summit League preseason coaches’ poll, but got a double-digit win over Utah Valley to begin the year. John Hart scored 19 points to lead the Jaguars and Mitchell Patton added 15 points and seven rebounds. Holton Hunsaker tallied 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Contract issue holding up Rob Murphy’s move from Eastern Michigan to Orlando Magic

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News broke earlier this week that Eastern Michigan head coach Rob Murphy would be leaving his post to join the Orlando Magic, according to Graham Couch of MLive.com.

But now, according to the Detroit Free-Press, a clause in Murphy’s contract is holding up any possible move.

In a report published Thursday, Mark Snyder of the Free-Press says that under an agreement reached in his contract, Murphy would have to pay Eastern Michigan $210,000, the equivalent of one year of his salary, in order to leave.

The contract states that the sum must be paid either in a lump or prorated over the number of years remaining on the contract, in this case four.

Murphy led Eastern Michigan to a 14-18 overall record this past season, his first with the team, including 9-7 in the MAC. He won the conference’s Coach of the Year award for leading the team to a first-place finish after the Eagles were projected to finish last in the MAC Western Division in the preseason media poll.

Before coming to Eastern Michigan, Murphy served as an assistant under Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, as well working as an assistant at Kent State.

Click here to read the full clause in Murphy’s contract.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Eastern Michigan head coach Rob Murphy leaving for job with Orlando Magic

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Eastern Michigan’s Rob Murphy is leaving his head coaching position with the Eagles to take a job with the Orlando Magic, Graham Couch of MLive.com is reporting.

According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, that job is in the team’s scouting department.

Murphy spent just one season at Eastern Michigan, leading the team to a 14-18 record, including 9-7 in the MAC. He was named MAC Coach of the Year for his efforts.

“We were excited to hire Rob Murphy last April to lead our men’s basketball program into the future,” EMU Director of Athletics Derrick Gragg said in a statement when Murphy received the award.

“That confidence was rewarded much quicker than we had anticipated and Rob proved his outstanding coaching ability after leading a team that was picked last in the division in the preseason to a Mid-American Conference West Division title.  We are pleased with the success this season and are looking forward with great anticipation to the next few years in men’s basketball.”

Before coming to Eastern Michigan, Murphy had served as an assistant at Kent State and under head coach Jim Boeheim at Syracuse.

Two months away from the beginning of the season, Eastern Michigan finds itself without a coach as Murphy moves to the NBA.

Photo Credit: Eastern Michigan

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_