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Jack Murphy
Jack Murphy
Title: Head Men's Basketball Coach
Phone: 928-523-5630

Jack Murphy enters his third season at the helm of the Northern Arizona University men’s basketball program. With ties to the State of Arizona, Murphy has been able to take the Lumberjacks to new heights.

In 2013-14, Murphy was able to increase the Lumberjacks’ overall win total to 15-17 and 12-8 in conference play and lead NAU to a second place finish in the Big Sky. That’s 10 more overall wins and 11 more conference victories than what NAU had the year before Murphy took over. January started off very well for NAU as it ended Montana’s 31-game Big Sky home winning streak. NAU’s season sweep over the Grizzlies was something that hadn’t been done by the Lumberjacks since the 2007-08 season. The Lumberjacks were the only team in the Big Sky to sweep the Idaho State-Weber State road trip, as it handed the Wildcats their first conference home loss this season, snapping a league record 27 straight home wins. Junior transfer guard Quinton Upshur was named the 2014 Big Sky Men’s Basketball Newcomer of the Year, in addition to earning Big Sky First Team honors, while Max Jacobsen was a Big Sky Honorable Mention pick. In his first season playing for NAU, junior center Len Springs finished with 58 blocked shots to tie for third all-time on the NAU season charts.

In his first year as head coach, Murphy coached both Gabe Rogers and Stallon Saldivar to All-Big Sky honors. Rogers received first team accolades, while Stallon Saldivar received honorable mention honors. Murphy led the Lumberjacks to an 11-21 overall record and 8-12 mark in the Big Sky, as he coached the Lumberjacks to their first Big Sky Tournament appearance since the 2010-11 season.

NAU finished fourth in the conference with 69.2 points per game. Rogers led the league with 20.1 points per game, while DeWayne Russell ranked first amongst all freshmen with 13.3 points per game.

"Jack is an exceptional addition to NAU athletics and brings a strong recruiting presence that will attract outstanding talent to the program," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos. "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."

Since Murphy’s arrival in Flagstaff, he has started the Annual Lumberjacks Coaches Clinic that has brought an exceptional group of speakers to NAU, including George Karl, Damon Stoudamire, Josh Pastner, Sean Miller, Mike Dunlap, Dave Rice, Tim Grurich and much more. For Murphy’s NAU Annual Speaker Series, which helps raise funds for the men’s basketball program, both Karl and Steve Kerr have been guest speakers.

"Murphy’s experience at various levels of the game, recruiting success and knowledge gained from working with college and professional athletes make him an excellent fit for NAU," Campos said.

His career includes working for three successful programs that have a combined 400 wins, 14 postseason appearances and five championships.

"This is a program that has a rich tradition, has had past success, and I look to build on that success," said Murphy. "I hope to be there along the way as we grow together as a university and as a basketball program."

Murphy came to NAU after three seasons on the University of Memphis staff as an assistant. He joined the coaching staff at Memphis under men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner in 2009-10, posting a 75-29 record with three 20-win seasons.

During Murphy’s tenure, Memphis earned two NCAA Tournament appearances, earned an NIT berth and won a Conference USA regular season title and two Conference USA Tournament Championships. Murphy, who handled the Tiger‘s defensive efforts in 2011-12, was the lead assistant on a staff that guided the team to a sweep of the Conference USA titles while posting the 10th-best field goal percentage defense in the country.

Murphy was instrumental in Memphis securing a Top-5 recruiting class in 2010 featuring four players ranked among the nation’s Top 100 and two McDonald’s All-Americans. The class was ranked No. 2 nationally by, No. 2 by and No. 4 by ESPN. The Tigers have signed three more Top 100 players since, including two more McDonald’s All-Americans.

In 2011-12, the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, losing to St. Louis in the second round. Memphis was the only team among the top-10 rated leagues in the nation to win its conference regular season title outright and also claim the league’s tournament crown, finishing with a 26-9 overall mark.

Memphis also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010-11, dropping a 77-75 decision to Arizona in the second round to finish with a 25-10 record. In Murphy’s first season, the Tigers advanced to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and advanced to the second round.

Prior to Memphis, Murphy spent three years working with former Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl where he served as an advance scout for the team. During his time, he gained a reputation as one of the league’s top "workout" trainers, working with the likes of NBA All-Stars Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony, along with rising NBA star J.R. Smith.

In Murphy’s three seasons in Denver, the Nuggets averaged nearly 50 wins a season and made three straight playoff appearances. In his final season in 2008-09, the Nuggets won a franchise-record 54 games (54-28), claimed a share of the NBA Northwest Division title and earned the Western Conference No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Denver advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1985, Billups and Anthony were named to the All-NBA third team and Billups played in the NBA All-Star game.

In 2007-08, Murphy helped the Nuggets to a 50-32 overall record and second-place finish in the Northwest Division. Denver was the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and lost in the first round. The previous year (2006-07), Denver finished the year with a 45-37 record and placed second in the Northwest Division. The Nuggets were the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and lost in the first round to the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

Murphy spent eight years (1998-2006) in Tucson with Pastner on Lute Olson’s staff at Arizona as a team manager, recruiting coordinator, administrative assistant, video coordinator and director of operations. In his eight years with the program, Arizona went 199-66 (.751), won three Pac-10 championships, one Pac-10 postseason tournament title, made eight NCAA Tournament appearances that included the 2001 national runner-up finish and two other Elite Eight (2003, 2005) appearances.

Murphy earned both his bachelor’s (2002) and master’s (2005) degrees from the University of Arizona.

Murphy and his wife, Michelle, have twin daughters Emma and Isabella and a son Dylan.


What They Are Saying About Jack Murphy

Jack Murphy Year-By-Year

Year School/Team Position Record Postseason Conference/Division
2013-14 Northern Arizona Head Coach 15-17 Big Sky Tournament T-2nd Place
2012-13 Northern Arizona Head Coach 11-21 Big Sky Tournament 6th Place
2011-12 Memphis Assistant Coach 26-9 NCAA Tournament Champions
2010-11 Memphis Assistant Coach 25-10 NCAA Tournament 4th Place
2009-10 Memphis Assistant Coach 24-10 NIT 2nd Place
2008-09 Denver Advance Scout 54-28 Conference Finals Champions
2007-08 Denver Advance Scout 50-32 First Round 2nd Place
2006-07 Denver Advance Scout 45-37 First Round 2nd Place
2005-06 Arizona Staff 20-13 NCAA Tournament 4th Place
2004-05 Arizona Staff 30-7 NCAA Tournament Champions
2003-04 Arizona Staff 20-10 NCAA Tournament 3rd Place
2002-03 Arizona Staff 28-4 NCAA Tournament Champions
2001-02 Arizona Staff 24-10 NCAA Tournament 2nd Place
2000-01 Arizona Staff 28-8 NCAA Tournament 2nd Place
1999-00 Arizona Staff 27-7 NCAA Tournament Champions
1998-99 Arizona Staff 22-7 NCAA Tournament 2nd Place
15 Seasons     434-213(.671) 15 Postseasons 5 Championships


What They Are Saying About Jack Murphy…

"Jack Murphy is a high character and high integrity guy and has a high moral compass. He knows what it takes to win and has been around winning at the highest level.  He has a very good basketball mind and an excellent recruiter and a people's person. He is an energy giver. Northern Arizona University, the athletics department and the Flagstaff community found themselves two gems in the same week in Dr. Lisa Campos and now Jack Murphy as the men's basketball coach."

Josh Pastner, Head Men's Basketball Coach at Memphis




"Jack is an amazing guy. He's coming from a situation where he left his job with the Denver Nuggets to go with Josh Pastner. I think all of that is about the family atmosphere under Lute Olson and continued that with Josh Pastner at Memphis. I think he'll be a young, hard-working head coach and a guy that's going to try and bring that family atmosphere and consistency to NAU. I think that's something positive for the school and the community."

Richard Jefferson, NBA Forward for Golden State Warriors & Former UA Wildcat 



"I think Jack will do a great job. He has a great work ethic, he has a lot of experience from when he was here for eight years at Arizona. He came in as a manager and really put in a lot of work and eventually was able to come with us on the road and help us with recruiting. Along with Josh (Pastner), he was involved with bringing in Chase Budinger and some of the really outstanding people we had. Jack has a really good background, good experience and he's really excited with being back in the West. He'll do a great job, he communicates well with players and he has an extensive background with working with individual players. He'll be well-liked by the community because he's a community person as well."

Lute Olson, Former Head Men's Basketball Coach at UA


"I got hired in my first job in NBA when I was 33 years old and Murph has similar qualities to me. He's very passionate, he's an incredibly hard-working guy and he's a sponge for the knowledge of the game of basketball. I told him that Northern Arizona is a perfect fit. It's at a level where he can have success and he can move quickly. I think the alumni and the university will love his ambition and his passion. He's an engaging guy and he loves to teach basketball. We love him here in Denver and we've tried to get him back ever since he left because we think he's that valuable to an organization. He's just a positive energy guy, a positive influence guy and at the end a good basketball coach."

George Karl, Head Basketball Coach for Denver Nuggets



"Number one, I think he's a great hire for the school just because of the quality of human being he is. I can honestly say if it wasn't for him pushing me in college, I wouldn't be where I am now. His number one trait is his passion for the game. If you have a coach who's passionate about basketball and playing it the right way, you're going to get quality kids who play the game the right way. The respect he's got from earning his way from being a manager at UA to working his way up to a coach, he doesn't cut corners, he puts in the work. Without a doubt he knows the game of basketball. Right now, you've got a guy I'd love to play for if I was coming out of high school."

Channing Frye, NBA Forward for Phoenix Suns & Former UA Wildcat



"I think Coach Murphy is going to be great for NAU. He obviously has some ties to the state of Arizona and Coach Murphy is one of those people that proves that if you're willing to work harder than anyone else, you can succeed in whatever you're goal is. His work ethic and his love for the game has made him a great career in basketball so far. He's one of those guys that is up early ready to work and staying up late looking at game films and doing whatever he can to give his team the best opportunity to win. On a personal note, he played a major role in helping me reach my goal of becoming an NBA player. He's going to be a great fit for NAU."

Luke Walton, Former NBA & UA Wildcat


"Murph is a tireless worker who prides himself on hard work, dedication and dignity. He will be a tremendous asset to NAU."

Chauncey Billups, NBA Guard for Los Angeles Clippers & Former Denver Nugget